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Survive! Serious Youth Violence

LGfL's DigiSafe team met academic and expert Craig Pinkney and senior leaders at the Imperium Federation of SEMH schools to film a series of short practical advice videos for schools supporting communities with serious youth violence, gangs and knife crime.

We recommend you watch a few and discuss in a staff meeting - there are some obvious questions in each video, plus each time, ask yourselves what might we do differently at our school as a result?

This page is open-access for the benefit of all schools at You can also find links to support from other organisations at

“ ...but I have to carry a knife because where I live a group of young people want to kill me ”

- Craig explains how it's not as simple as Just Say NO! 

“ You, young man, need to learn to SURVIVE! ”

- What does this mean? Craig helps young people find strategies for avoiding conflict hotspots 

Videos by theme

Background to gangs, knife crime and serious youth violence

What actually is a gang, or a street gang?


Is the label gang useful, and why does it matter? 


Should schools focus on knife crime or gangs? 


What one thing do schools need to understand about serious youth violence? 

What are the causes; how do you spot it and can you stop it?

Are today's young people more violent than they used to be, and what has changed? 


Why do young people get sucked into violence and what can we do about it? 

How do you spot it; how can you stop it?

How can you tell that a child is vulnerable to gang grooming? 


How do you identify a young person who is at risk of joining a gang? 


What preventative steps can a school take to minimise serious youth violence? 


How can you stop a young person carrying a knife, or safeguard them when others do? 

Impact of social media and drill music

Does social media encourage violence and what do teachers need to know about it? 


How do gangs use social media to groom young people and what do schools need to be aware of? 


How can we help young people to use social media positively? 


Does drill music encourage violence and what do teachers need to know about it? 

Help us now! Should we call the police? Who else can help?

Should we call the police if a student has a knife? 


Who has the expertise we need and which agencies can help us and how? 


What should a school do if they are concerned that a student may be in a gang? 


What can we do if gang culture may have already arrived in our school? 


What should a school do as soon as they suspect a student MIGHT carry a knife? 


What should a school do as soon as they discover a student DOES carry a knife? 

The roles of schools, parents and visiting experts

How can a school be a gang alternative? 


How can a school avoid inadvertently alienating young people? 


How can schools and parents work in partnership to combat youth violence? 


What's the role of visiting experts and why are school staff and peers critically important, too? 

What about girls & peers; perpetrators & victims?

How are girls groomed to join gangs and what signs can we look for? 


What role can peers play in identifying students at risk? 


How can a school work with both victims and perpetrators of serious youth violence? 

A job for primary or secondary schools?

How does gang culture infiltrate primaries and secondaries in different ways? 


What would you say to primary teachers who think SYV is a secondary school issue? 


Why are primary schools just as important as secondaries? What can they do? 

What should we teach young people, what not, and how?

How can schools run successful prevention / intervention projects? 


What is the role of transition and PSHE in saving children and young people from gangs? 


How do you teach coping and resilience, whilst also helping YP to understand consequences? 


How do we teach peace versus rules and conflict? 


How can you communicate with young people who don't like talking about their problems? 

Background to gangs, knife crime and serious youth violence

Case study: Turning around a student who has been drawn into a gang 


Case study: Building a school where gangs cannot flourish...without more time or money 

The long view

If you would like to hear more from Craig Pinkney in an extended piece (44 mins), why not watch his SafeConf 2019 keynote presentation all about SYV issues below:


We would love to hear more about what you need and what we could do next to support in this area. Email us.

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