Interview: local parent Debbie
Debbie is a local parent, involved in many community groups aiming to create positive change across Islington. She is a Parent Knife Crime Ambassador for Islington funded by Parent house, a Families for Life Parent Champion, as well as a Social Switch Champion. She also sits on the Violence Reduction Unit Steering Panel, all whilst holding down a job as a full time diabetic eye specialist nurse.
Debbie told us “What inspired me to get involved with all these projects was living for my family and community. I wanting to help and support other parents that may have had family members that have fallen victim to knife crime and domestic violence and to use my experience to help others. My eldest son fell victim to knife crime 6 years ago and I am thankful that he survived the horrific experience but it made me think about how I can actively get involved in helping my community and supporting other who have also experienced trauma through violence. I have had the opportunity to tell my story good and bad, this has given me strength confidence and the power to heal myself whist helping others.
“No person should have to stand alone, I believe each one can teach one.
“One of the proudest moments for me was being recognised for what I do and inspiring others through my experience. Being asked to sit on the VRU steering panel was such an amazing feeling. I felt very honoured that my opinions were valued. I now feel like I can be a voice for the community.
“Speaking as a parent and also overcoming the trauma of watching a loved one fight to survive a horrific knife attack qualifies me to be able to give parents hope that we as a community can come together to help each other. My story has thankfully helped other parents and inspired them to want to get more involved. I have helped enroll parents on to many training and webinars put on by the VRU.
“I believe if parents start to educate themselves more on knife crime awareness, social media and everyday issues that affect our children it will equipped one to have those open conversation with the young people. By educating yourself on these matters can only be a good thing as it will help you to be a bit more informed for unexpected changes in your child’s behaviour.
“I think parents can start coming together talking and engaging with police and other organisations to be heard, and together come up with solutions to make Islington safer. Sitting at home hoping for change will not bring about change, we have to all do our bit as a team.
“We can not sit back as a community and keep blaming authorities, we need to show that we are also willing to implement change as well. This is a community problem and that means Police, authorities, parents, children are all part of the community. The VRU have given parents a great opportunity to get involved in that change, they believe in what we are doing within the community. I wish these changes can happen across all borough’s as this will make everyone feel safer in London and not just in their borough, but we have to start somewhere for change to be recognised.
“I hope that my projects and Parent Champion groups can be a driving force for positive change.”