Antser calls for change to tackle the rise of the knife crime pandemic

Antser calls for change to tackle the rise of the knife crime pandemic

Antser, a leading provider of innovative and transformational solutions to the health, education, and social care sectors, has called for urgent change to help deliver positive outcomes for young people by raising the awareness of knife crime.

Recent studies conducted by University College London (UCL) have revealed that nearly one in 10 boys have carried or used a knife, gun, or another weapon by the age of 17, demonstrating the ongoing impact of the knife pandemic. 

In response to such statistics, Antser has found one tool which has proven successful in addressing the ever-pressing issue of gangs and knife crime is Virtual Reality (VR) technology.

During a recent ground-breaking pilot study with Ealing Council Youth Justice Service (YJS), Antser VR was used directly with young people already involved with the service, or known to them, and practitioners to directly impact and work to prevent Child Criminal Exploitation.

Using VR headsets and 360-degree immersive films designed by Antser, young people found themselves immersed in the experience of others, providing them with an opportunity to safely explore the issues of risk, how to identify it, how to avoid it and how to protect themselves, not just helping to increase their knowledge of exploitation but also to understand the real-life scenarios young people face around gangs and knife crime.

One practitioner involved in the pilot said: “I think the films and sessions supported the young people to identify the consequences that involving themselves with negative peers could have and was able to clearly show the process that a young person may go through. In each film, the young people could identify the risks and possible warning signs and could state how they would get themselves out of the situation.”

Gita Hargun, Antser’s Subject Matter Expert in Children’s Services, said: “I am privileged to have been able to be a part of this pilot with Ealing YJS and Antser as this has provided us with an opportunity to deliver intervention sessions in an innovative way.”

Jeffrey Wotherspoon, Antser’s Subject Matter Expert in Gangs, County Lines and Knife Crime, said: “VR provides a great platform for training professionals and carers working with young people in any capacity, around gangs, county lines and knife crime. It is a powerful tool that can be used to reflect and support best practice, as well as pick up on unconscious biases and how they can be challenged to develop appropriate empathy when working with young people.

“We can’t do this alone, which is why everyone in social care needs to come together and unite to tackle this issue. By simply raising awareness of the resources out there, it can help save a young person’s life from knife crime.”

Antser has developed hard-hitting immersive VR films depicting the realities of child criminal exploitation as part of its VR-enabled behaviour change programme for those working within children’s services, including education, health, local authorities and the police, in a bid to deliver positive change and improved outcomes for vulnerable children, adults, families and communities.

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