The purpose of this activity is to arrange things on a harmometer (like a thermometer) by the potential harm they can cause.

What you will need

You will need...

Timing: 15mins

  • A print out of the harmometer image, or your own version hand-drawn onto a flip chart (you will need enough copies to work in small groups)
  • Sticky notes


Start by...

Explain that as a group you are going to explore violent acts and how much harm they cause. As an opener you can ask about types of harm that the group can identify.

Remember that we are focusing on violence and knife crime, but other harms might be involved. For example, stress, fear and other factors that occur in the lead-up, during and after an incident.

Middle bit...

Use these categories and write them onto sticky notes, then place them on the harmometer according to which ones cause the most harm and which ones cause the least harm.

  1. Using a small knife
  2. Carrying a large six-inch knife to scare off other gangs
  3. Stabbing someone in the bum
  4. Carrying a knife for protection
  5. Keeping it to yourself that your friend is carrying a knife
  6. Getting someone under 16 to carry a knife for you
  7. Reporting someone carrying a knife
  8. Telling someone you're worried because you've been threatened
  9. Asking someone to help you out because your friends are getting more heavily involved in violence
  10. Getting a bit drunk on a night out and going home while the going is good
  11. Totally losing it on a night out and taking it out on someone that you don't like
  12. Losing the head with your friend because they've told you they have a knife
  13. Getting your friends to help you 'send a message' to someone you think has done you wrong
  14. Sending hate messages by phone to someone you can't stand

End by...

The point of the exercise is that there are no real right or wrong answers. All of these situations put you at risk. There is no safe place to stab someone. Carrying a knife is illegal and you can be prosecuted at any age for possession, even if you say you are carrying it for fear or protection.

If it's your friend that's involved, you can be prosecuted under 'joint enterprise'. Always make sure you try to calm them down or talk them out of it. And best of all, speak to an adult you can trust.

If there is no violence but there is incitement it can still be an offense that is considered 'harassment' or 'malicious communications' if it involves social media. You are welcome to watch the 'Don't be in the Dark' video for more information.

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