Having the conversation

Parents and carers can really help with knife crime prevention by talking through the issues with their children.


Making sure they know what knife crime is and that they understand how upset you’d be if they got caught with a knife or got injured can have a big impact.

Believe you can make a difference

Your child might not tell you as much (they might tell you the exact opposite), but what you say, think and feel is important to them.


Getting started

Find a quiet time and a bit of privacy. If home is crowded, you could talk in the car, walking the dog or on the way to the shops. It may help to avoid times when you know they’re likely to be tired or hungry.

Reassure them that they can be honest with you and let them know you’ll support them without judgement – no matter what.



Be a good listener

Your child may be reluctant or scared to talk at first – it’s a difficult subject.

Be patient and try not to react straight away to what they tell you. Let them talk as much as they want to first.

Encourage them to share their fears and worries.

Sharing your own fears can help – tell them how much you worry about their safety and their future.

Be positive

Let them know that they do have a choice in what they do, even though it may seem like they don’t.

Make them aware that vast majority of young people don’t carry a knife.

Let them know that youth and community workers now report that fewer young people carry knives and that it’s becoming less and less acceptable to do so.

Use facts not opinions

They might not think you know what you’re talking about so a little preparation can really help here.

For hard-hitting info on knife crime and its consequences, check our section on knowing the facts.

Be clear about false 'bravery'

Raise the point that walking away from confrontation or a fight is the braver thing to do.

If someone pulls a knife on them, the safest, wisest thing to do is to walk away.

In ten years time, nobody will remember they walked, but if they ‘stand their ground’ the consequences could last a lifetime or even end someone’s life.

Let them know how it could affect you and rest of your family

Encourage them to consider who they’d be affecting if they get involved in knife crime.

How do they think you, their grandparents or their brothers or sisters will feel if they’re arrested or get hurt?

If they use a knife on someone, others could come looking for them at home and this could put other family members in danger.

Be realistic

Your child may feel you have no experience of knife crime or the challenges they face.

Are there any examples from your own childhood that you can draw upon?

Has there been anything in the news recently or something that’s happened locally that you can refer to?

Suggest alternatives

To find out about safe, fun activities for children and young people in your local area, check our section on positive choices.

Try a different approach

Is there someone else that your child trusts who could help you to have the conversation?

Get help and support for yourself

It may be that you learn some worrying things about your child and the things they’re involved in.

Try not to overreact but don’t feel you have to deal with this on your own – help is available.

See our section on getting support.

Parents’ stories

Read how parents across Scotland cope with knife crime and its effects.





If you’re worried and would like to talk to someone contact:



Speak to or email someone about any worry, any time.

08000 28 22 23



Give information on crime anonymously and safely.

0800 555 111

Getting support

You don’t have to deal with this alone. Read how to find help and support here.