We’re holding our first unconference on Friday 29 September in Glasgow to discuss youth work’s contribution to positive prevention and community safety. At the unconference, we want to explore the contribution of youth work at a policy level and in the process of local community safety planning, and to consider next steps to fully integrate youth work as a key approach to prevention.

(And if you’re not sure what an unconference is, catch up on our last blog.)

NKBL partners know that youth work supports young people to have more control over their lives and to contribute to other’s wellbeing by developing their skills and knowledge. Although the purpose and process of youth work isn’t necessarily intended to reduce youth crime levels, in Scotland youth work has been recognised as a valuable partner in the crime prevention process.

There are three levels of prevention work: primary, secondary and tertiary:

  • Primary prevention aims to change young people’s environment, reducing the opportunity for them to become involved in activities that may lead to offending.
  • Secondary prevention aims to change young people’s behaviours and motivation.
  • Tertiary prevention aims to prevent re-offending.

Youth work can play a significant role in all three levels.

At NKBL, we apply the positive prevention approach to knife crime with young people using the ‘4 Rs’. These four areas inform all of our work and resources. By using the 4Rs and taking a youth work approach, we can support young people to make positive choices and reach their potential.


Young people are aware that knife carrying isn’t common. This is important as protection is a common reason given for carrying a knife.

Risks and consequences

Young people are aware of the very serious legal and personal risks and consequences of carrying a knife or any offensive weapon. Many young people are unaware of the legal consequences of carrying a knife and the impact that knife crime can have on individuals, families and communities. They often think that carrying a knife offers protection when in fact, it puts them at more risk.


Young people are more aware of the influences, fears and pressures that can lead to the decision to carry a knife and how these can be managed or avoided.


Young people are aware of the importance of telling someone if they know someone else is carrying a knife. This is an important aspect of prevention work and is relevant to all young people.


Our unconference will give you the chance to lead the conversation on positive prevention. Whether it’s sharing your work or a brand new idea, we want to hear from you! You can book your free place at the unconference here. Join the conversation on Twitter by using #unconfNKBL.

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