Tackling Youth Violence and Knife Crime in West Yorkshire

Tell Studio has produced Cut Short, an impact documentary on youth violence and knife crime prevention. Guests were invited to the screening this Thursday.

Cut Short explores multiple heartbreaking stories of knife violence and exploitation, and has been produced independently to give freely to educational institutions and youth-facing organisations as a learning resource to engage young people on the issues raised.

The documentary cites current statistics on knife crime sourced from regional police forces, which prove knife crime’s presence in the North of England. In 2022, no fewer than 232 knives were confiscated from under 18 year olds in Merseyside and there were 29 knife attacks by under 17 year olds in Newcastle and Sunderland.

Almost weekly, another young person is lost somewhere in the UK.

Damien Dallimore, Director of Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit (which part-funded the film): “The film is a really powerful way of showing the real impact of knife crime and exploitation on young people, families and communities. Projects like this play an important role in educating young people and communities on the realities of serious violence.

Representatives from West Yorkshire Combined Authority, West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership, West Yorkshire Police, HM YOI Wetherby, Leeds City Council Integrated Safeguarding Unit, Leeds City Council’s Safer Leeds Partnership and Safer Kirklees attended a screening of the film on 26 October.

A number of secondary and further education institutions were also represented. These include Corpus Christi Catholic College (where a teacher was stabbed to death in 2014) and leaders of youth, crime and anti-gang organisations such as: Crimestoppers, In2Out, SHiFT, The James Brindley Foundation, The Salvation Army, Barca Leeds,The Youth Association, and Bradford Children and Families Trust – Breaking the Cycle Project.

The film will now be shared with interested organisations as a standalone resource or as part of a larger teaching package that provides educators with activities, safeguarding advice and guidance on delivering sessions on knife crime. It has also been selected to feature in the Filmmakers For Change Film Festival, taking place in October.

Cut Short director Owen Seabrook: “We want to show this film to one million young people by 2026. We’re doing this by offering the film at a grassroots level, but we’re also in conversations to include the film in PSHE learning and as a tool to push youth violence awareness across the wider national curriculum.”

All photographs by Simon and Simon Photography. Main image: Maizie Brown, Producer; Lewis Mitchell, Producer; Documentary Leads Sarah Lloyd and Vilson Duarte Dong and Owen Seabrook, DIrector.

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