YOUTH VIOLENCE & Knife Prevention


The Aspire Higher (Anti Knife) Program is a high impact violence reduction and holistic personal development program designed to change behaviour traits and negative mindsets, it uses advanced coaching methodologies combined with crime prevention workshops using the creative arts, motivational strategies, high level conflict resolution, non-aggressive knife defence and violence prevention. We view violence through the eye of public health and employ an evidence-based model proven to reduce violence in different cultural contexts.

The program focuses on building confidence, communication skills and self-esteem, while inspiring the participants to engage in education, training and employment. We use a combination of proven methodologies which compliment each other and both have a proven track record of working within the custodial setting and within the community. All our workshops are delivered by dynamic facilitators and the workers are labelled as being “credible messengers” (those with experiences of violence, gang affiliation and or offending behaviour). This allows for a cognizant connection with many of the participants and an approach which leads to a potent peer led program. Our non-violent conflict resolution sessions are based around cascading mediation skills, knowledge and experience, alongside the FAST (Fear Adrenalised Stress Training) methodology. 

Research indicates that violence, like other behaviours is acquired or learned this is done mainly through modelling, observing, imitating or copying until it becomes a behavioural habit. By employing a pioneering epidemiological model the Aspire Higher Anti-Knife program uses advanced personal development and holistic methodologies to pivot the beginning of a behaviour change and a mindset shift. The strategy is to gain a positive shift in mindset which will impact other areas of an individual’s life beyond the program.

The Aspire Higher (Anti Knife) program is delivered with our partners Syrus Consultancy CIC and Wipers Youth CIC, collectively we have 20 years experience in delivering intervention programs for youth. The organisations collectively have had an impact of over 12,000 young people in the UK over the last 11 years. All organisations have won multiple awards, been successful in MOJ and Home Office grants and have been contracted to work across several London Boroughs and Regions in England within Schools, Colleges, PRU’s, Alternative Provisions, YOIs and Prisons. The partners are equipped with ‘credible messengers’  who work with young people involved in gang activity and those at risk of violent offenses.

Several contracts have also been awarded by Her Majesties Prison and Probation Service to specifically work in the CJS with both minors and adults in Violence Reduction where they have seen evidenced group violence reductions of up to 95% in one year (2012-2013). More recently in 2017 the partnership has worked in HMP Elmley with a focus on BAME offenders. The intervention has had a measured impact in that 3 months after the initial intervention; 83% of formerly violent and high risk participants are employed. 60% have received positive case note entries and 64% stated that the intervention has helped them in handling their anger and violence issues. The violence within this group has also fallen dramatically and the program is now in its 6th replication. The  program focuses on building confidence, communication skills and raising self-esteem, while inspiring people to engage in education, training and employment. The partnership is a perfect marriage of proven methodologies which complement each other and all have an evidenced proven track record of working within a community and custodial setting successfully.


The Aspire Higher (Anti-Knife) Program is normally delivered over 12 weeks but can be adapted based on availability.


Interventions to engage both those actively participating in high-risk activity and those on the periphery

 ·         To facilitate the young people’s ability to view their actions through the eyes of others

·         To provide credible skills and techniques to resolve potentially violent conflicts without the use of violence

·         To facilitate training in non-aggressive  ‘gross-motor’ knife defence mechanism, to dissuade the candidates from having to pick up a knife as a       choice of protection,

·         To safeguard the candidates against the potential threat of being injured by a knife in a confrontation.

·         To address the shocking realities of “drugs / street life” and destroy popular myths and misconceptions

·         To facilitate a change in thinking which will impact behaviour

·         To seek ways in improving the outcome of young people through education, employment and vocational certification.

·         To reinforce a positive value system within the candidates

·         To motivate and encourage the young people into seeking a greater purpose in life.

Image credit : Simon Wheatley -   Don't Call Me Urban! The Time of Grime

Image credit : Simon Wheatley - Don't Call Me Urban! The Time of Grime



Viewing violence through the lens of public health, The Safety Box employs an evidence-based model, proven to reduce violence in different cultural contexts. The Safety Box in partnership with Cure Violence with Surviving Our Streets successfully implemented this model for the first time in a UK Prison, this was a slight adaptation from the Cure Violence USA model into a UK YOI where the group violence reduced by 96% in one year.

Research indicates that violence, like other behaviours is acquired or learned – mainly through modelling, observing, imitating or copying. We learn socially from those around us how to act, what to do, and what is expected of us. After the age of 10, these behaviours become unconsciously “regulated” not by family, but by peers.

Chart showing 12 month reduction in Group Attacks within UK Youth Prison working with delivery partners.

Chart showing 12 month reduction in Group Attacks within UK Youth Prison working with delivery partners.

Data showing 12 month intervention in a UK Youth Prison, using adaptation of Cure Violence model.

Data showing 12 month intervention in a UK Youth Prison, using adaptation of Cure Violence model.

Our knife program is designed specifically for young people that carry weapons for protection or those at risk of falling victim to knife crime, we have a structured therapuetic and non aggressive self-defence training programbuilt upon principles that teaches young people about the harsh realities of knife crime. Some (but not all) of the methods used on the program include:

  • Knife Defence Training

  • Shock Tactics

  • One 2 Ones

  • Family of victims testimonials

  • Ex offender testimonials

  • Knife and Gun wounds

  • Leadership and Teamwork

  • Day trips

  • Conflict Resolution

  • Respect

  • Video Aids

The Safety Box takes it to a very real level of physical conflict and shows the young people how to effectively defend themselves against knives so that they do not feel the need to pick weapons up for a means of protection. The Safety Box is driven to make a difference and help to stop this self-perpetuating, dangerous trend that has horrific consequences.

SELF DEFENCE against knifes


Within our Self Defence program we train young people how to defend themselves effectively against a knife.

We take safeguarding very serious and train the young people at a very real level of physical conflict using both rubber and blunt metallic knifes. All the moves utalise Gross Motor Functional Movement and we take a realistic, multi-sensory, practical and strategic approach to deal with the instinctual gross-motor body movement when in a state of adrenaline secretion.

Sydenham High School For Girls


We train the young people's bodies how to respond appropriately under a fear or anger induced stress conditions, simulated in a competitive scenario. Our training methods have been used in real life by both military personal and highly trained combat experts.


Over 145 beats per minute our complex motor skills (writing, small movements, martial arts skills) immediately begin to deteriorate.

When the heart exceeds 175 beats per minute adrenaline in the body is secreted at a rate that prohibits logical thought, peripheral vision is lost, hearing excludes everything not only that but tunnel vision and vascular constriction sets in as a natural way to reduce bleeding from any wounds you're about to suffer. Traditional martial art trained complex moves are very difficult to pull off and after combat freezing, begging for your life or the bladder emptying, the only movements you have left is gross motor skills; namely. Running, Large wide and big movements with your arms, charging or curling up.

Our knife defence program is specifically designed to teach the correct reactions in an unexpected crisis situation and when faced with a real violent aggressor. The courses run as:

  • 2 Hour Knife Defence Program

  • 1 day (5 Hours) Knife Defence Program

  • 3 Week Knife & Defence Program (1 hour a week)

  • 6 Week Personal Protection Program (1 hour a week)

  • 10 Week Full Defence Program including Gun Avoidance (1 hour a week)

So why do most people carry them?

Research suggests that one of the main reasons for many teenagers carrying knives is for the need for self defence against other gangs, there is also the increase in it being the weapon of choice in muggings and robbery.

UK law clearly states that it is illegal to carry a knife, knife blade, razor or any article which is sharply pointed. Here are some of the reasons given for their use:

  • Harass, intimidate or even for ‘kicks’

  • Peer pressure

  • To command ‘Respect’ and status

  • To steal, by threats to harm (often to fund a drug habbit)

  • Fear and / or self-protection / self-defence

At The Safety Box we deliver extended intervention and prevention programs (some of which last up to 3 months).

Our key aim is to change the mindset of the young people by getting them to think about their lives and others in more detail. In this program we focus on a targeted young people, youth that are at-risk of offending in addition to gang members or young people that carry weapons as a means of protection or those at risk of carrying.

The knife programs are specifically designed to hit them at an psycho-emotional level, we use a combination of classroom based and physical activity.

Some of the modules taught on the extended programs include talks from ex-convicts and their experience in prison, shock tactics (pictures and videos), conflict resolution, defence tactics, verbal diffusion, anger management, discussion forums, team building, communication exercises, inspirational talks and enterprise workshops.

This all helps to build self worth, raise aspirations and effectively try to break the violent cycle by giving them alternative options.

We also use trauma therapy as a key component through one-to-one coaching which enabels us to deal with mental health conditions.

Our Staff Training, Youth Trainers & Violence Interrupter’s


The Safety Box training is extensive requiring all members of training staff to undertake both practical and theoretical learning.  Recruitment for both our youth outreach training staff and violence interrupters is very specific. Our filtering system takes place very early in the recruitment process to ensure we are hiring the right individuals for the job.


We use this process to “validate” the youth trainers and violence interrupters as credible to ensure they can effectively engage with the high-risk participants. This process also weeds out those unsuitable for the role.


Once identified, recruited and trained on our 7 week in house program, violence interrupters employ high-risk conflict mediation techniques to mediate conflict, stop retaliations, pre-empt and stop violent incidents occurring.


Knife Prevention and Defence Program

• Avoidance
• The Consequences
• Prison from the inside
• Life Story
• The Effect on Family and Friends
• The Value you place on your life
• Something to live for
• Spotting potential danger
• Building Awareness Strategies
• The effects of adrenaline and stress
• Body Posture in attack prevention
• Verbal Defence
• Reactionary Distancing
• Gross Motor-functional Movement Blocking (Utilising SAFE Simple, Adaptable, Fast and Effective) 
• Controlling the attackers knife hand
• The knife lines of attack
• Blocking against a knife
• Taster Defending against a knife attack level 1. (Static)
• Taster Defending against a knife attack level 2. (Slashes) 
• Taster Defending against knife attacks level 3. (Rear hand grip, forward hand grip Thrusts) 
• What to do if you get cut
• Being the best you can be
• End of Workshop

School Resources

The Safety Box also provide several resources for schools including lesson plans, discussion questions for Key stages 3 and 4. In addition to resources from our partner Aviards Inspired ‘AMANI” knife crime story.


Watch The Safety Box founder Nathaniel Peat discussing knife crime on Channel 4 News, with Jon Snow below filmed July 2008 - 10 years ago we said young people carried knives for protection and research over the last 4 years has confirmed something we have known since our inception

(Nathaniel on 07:32 minutes) Video Requires FlashPlayer



The Safety Box has several training programs available for school support police, youth workers and support staff that may want to run our programs or improve their own. We give you the full training support and also sell you the licence to use all of our material and workshops for the agreed time.

Our licences are very affordable and we offer periodic brush up training courses to keep you up-to-date with new methodologies. Having us train you, will save you long term cost, we equip you with the necessary skills to deliver our material without us having to be there.

Building our framework and system into your PRU or youth centre will give you the necessary tools required to handle negative behaviour trends, raise the aspirations of the youth and give you effective ways to tackle poor behaviour. Our training program is ideal for support staff, mentors and teachers that tackle poor behaviour. If you are interested in our training programs and buying our licences to run our program please contact: