'They see the knife scars' - How gang victim shocked people into listening

Norfolk police and crime commisssioner Lorne Green.

Norfolk police and crime commisssioner Lorne Green. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

"When they see the knife scars, the past lifestyle, and trauma in me - that’s when they listen”. 

This is the eye-opening experience of a victim of criminal exploitation ahead of a series of webinars highlighting the dangers of gangs and County Lines for Norfolk's youth.

More than 250 professionals and parents have already taken part in the virtual workshops, hosted by the award-winning charity St Giles as part of its ongoing SOS+ Project.

Contract manager Clare Bradley said: "The pandemic might have pushed County Lines away from the headlines but exploitation by drug gangs remains a serious issue across the UK, affecting children and young people from all backgrounds.  

"We are proud to be working with Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to help prevent young people from becoming exploited and abused.”  

READ MORE: Some good news in Norfolk’s war on drugs.

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The group was first commissioned by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk in 2019 to run the project. 

A victim of County Lines and professional who attended a session in November, said they were pleased the course was being put on. 

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“The course was delivered by people who'd actually experienced what I had with stories nearly identical to my own yet set hundreds of miles away. This put the course in a league of its own.   

“My clients start to listen to me when they see the knife scars and see the past lifestyle and trauma in me."  

It is hoped that the webinar will enlighten parents and careers to understand what County Lines is, the methods used to exploit young people, to recognise key signs and indicators, and encourage healthy conversations with their children.  

Norfolk's PCC Lorne Green, added: "It is absolutely vital we continue to do all we can to safeguard our most vulnerable young people and give them the tools they need to make informed decisions for themselves.”  

The next webinar sessions are due to take place on February 17, March 5 and 10, and April 19 and 28 for professionals, and February 26, March 12, and April 22 for parents.  

To sign up email sosplusadmin@stgilestrust.org, ring 0207 708 8047, or visit the website.

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