Two videos, produced by the county’s Violence Reduction Unit under the banner “Bystander – Don’t Do Nothing”, focus on the issues of bullying and knife crime. Their release coincides with the national campaigns, Anti-bullying Week and the Operation Sceptre, the bi-annual national knife crime awareness campaign run by the police.
KCC is making the videos available to secondary schools across the county and hopes that they will be able and keen to incorporate them into their PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) curriculum.
Education and youth professionals can see the videos and download resources to help support discussions in lessons about these issues on the dedicated website www.dontdonothing.co.uk
The young people involved in the ideas and scripting for the videos came from the Maidstone and Malling Alternative Provision, the Quarterdeck Youth Hub, Margate, and the elected members of the Kent Youth County Council. The young actors are from the Kent School of Performing Arts.
Charlotte Whitewood, the designated safeguarding lead at the Maidstone and Malling Alternative Provision, said: “For our students to have their opinions heard and to make decisions on such an important subject was so empowering for all the young people involved. They gained so much from this experience. They enjoyed being part of a campaign that is aimed to help other young people.”
The Violence Reduction Unit is a partnership between Kent and Medway councils, Kent Police, health service providers and other agencies. Director Mark Powell said: “The aim of these videos is to encourage people to safely speak out in the face of abusive behaviour.
“We are hoping to create opportunities for people to show that these sorts of behaviours are unacceptable by intervening safely to help prevent and support victims without, of course, putting themselves in danger.
“An active bystander means being aware of when someone's behaviour is inappropriate or threatening and choosing to intervene and offer assistance when it is safe to do so. When one individual intervenes by calling out unacceptable behaviour or supporting someone then others will join in. This can create a positive environment where others then feel more able to call out unacceptable language and behaviour.”
KCC Youth Participation Officer Jamie Freeman, spoke to some of the young people who have been involved throughout the process of the development of the campaign and gathered these quotes: “The videos are hard hitting with some powerful acting” and “It is everyone’s responsibility to do something in those situations.”
Jamie said: “If we ignore something we might be seen as accepting it. It’s up to us to step up and show that we don’t. Of course, we’re not asking anyone to put themselves in harm’s way or make things worse. That’s why it’s important to find out and have conversations about what sorts of things that we – and especially young people – can safely do to help those affected and tackle these sorts of issues.”
Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said: “Violence against women and girls and knife crime remain among my top priorities so I am pleased to support this important campaign. Speaking up can make a real difference so I have supported a number of communities with training to recruit more Active Bystanders.
“If you see something, say something. It could be the intervention they need to get the help they need and away from danger.”
Sue Chandler, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services; said: “The finished videos have powerful messages. I hope they encourage young people to realise that, by adopting the ‘Don’t Do Nothing’ attitude, their interventions can help disrupt and prevent irresponsible actions by others.”
The videos can be viewed here: www.dontdonothing.co.uk