In the last few weeks, three school-aged children from Barking and Dagenham have been the victim of a stabbing and once again the east London council, along with local secondary schools, is asking parents to take more responsibility for their children by knowing what they’re up to, when not at home.
In the second phase of its Lost Hours campaign, Barking and Dagenham Council has teamed up with local secondary schools to spread the message to parents through social media and school newsletters.
Data shows an increase in serious youth violence affecting young people between the hours of 3pm to 7pm, when young people finish school and parents get home from work (Lost Hours). All three of the recent stabbings happened during this time.
Now that schools have returned and with lockdown restrictions beginning to ease, there will be more young people on the streets hanging around, so it’s important more than ever that parents know what their children are up to.
On Wednesday several secondary schools shared social media messages to parents asking them to check in on their children and watch a short film, which features two local parents who lost their children to knife attacks. Peter Chesney and Beatrice Mushiya talk about their experiences alongside Stephen Addison, owner of Box Up Crime and Abdalla, a young resident who has been through the council’s youth offending service.
Councillor Evelyn Carpenter, Cabinet Member for Education and School Improvement said: “It breaks my heart every time I hear that another young person has been stabbed and I just can’t understand why young people would want to hurt each other.
“We must all work together to put a stop to youth violence and I’m appealing to parents to please check-in with their children, start questioning them, asking where they are and what they’re doing when they’re out with friends.”
All secondary schools in the borough have been provided with a toolkit for them to share with parents including social media assets, flyers and posters.
Over the next few weeks, schools have also been invited to take part in an activity with their students around the short film and county lines.
Councillor Margaret Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety added: “Kids shouldn’t be killing kids, but unfortunately it is happening on our doorsteps and across London.
“Does your child take calls at all hours of the day, do they have new clothes or unexplained money? If so, they could be involved in something they shouldn’t be. Please speak to them before they do something they may regret.”
Councillor Maureen Worby, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care said: “I’m really pleased that schools have backed our Lost Hours campaign and are working with us to encourage parents to check in on their children regularly.
“Working as a community is the only way we can combat this issue.”
For more information on the campaign and to view the short film, head to www.losthours.org.