Charity launches knife crime and self-esteem workshops for girls in Leeds in bid to tackle serious violence
Young women must not be overlooked in knife crime education in Leeds, a campaigner and charity worker has urged.
Precious Jackson, founder of youth charity Kamea CIC, has launched workshops in schools to provide young people with peer-to-peer support and mentoring.
The workshops are designed for young women as much as men, opening up conversations around difficult topics such as serious violence, abusive relationships and child exploitation.
When Precious, from Moortown, had her daughter Kamea aged 16, she felt she lacked positive support from her peers.
Her own experiences drive her charity work and although she now lives in London, she is expanding the peer workshops into her home city.
Precious, 30, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “We raise awareness on child exploitation and healthy and unhealthy relationships, covering themes like cyberbullying, safety and emotional, physical and financial abuse.
“Our workshops raise awareness of violent relationships, as well as knife crime prevention and workshops on the grooming cycle.”
Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) is a term which encompasses a number of crimes such as drugs, county lines and carrying weapons.
Specialist police officers in Leeds work closely with schools, Leeds City Council and youth offending services to identify young people at risk - including girls.
“There’s often a perception that knife crime doesn’t affect young women, but it’s just as important to raise awareness than it is for males," Precious added.
“It often comes from relationships, so that’s why we’re doing workshops to raise self-esteem and get to the core reasons that women are affected."
The Kamea CIC workshops on knife crime prevention are led by young volunteers, who often have similar backgrounds and life experiences to the pupils.
“Peer education is so important," Precious added.
"Young people can identify and relate more to it; it’s harder to relate to a 60-year-old man in a classroom.
"The peer educators have been through these issues themselves and come out the other side. The children can be more open and we’ve always had good feedback.”
Getting to the root of what causes young people to become perpetrators or victims of serious violence is at the core of the charity.
Precious hosted a 30-person event, Queen Kingdom, for four generations of women at St Martin's Church in Chapel Allerton earlier this month.
The sessions focused on building confidence, teaching mindfulness techniques and creating bonds between women of different ages.
Precious hopes to expand the sessions once Covid-restrictions allow and has organised an event for young men in August.
She added: “Knife crime is often passed down through generations, so we’re teaching young men to support each other and form a brotherhood.
"We hope the work will help young people to know they're not statistics, they're stars."
The Leeds Domestic Violence website is www.ldvs.uk and the 24/7 helpline number is 0113 246 0401.