Angry joins fight against knife culture

21:35 by Editor · 0 Post a comment on AAWR

A rock legend, prominent youth worker and a high-profile Catholic priest have joined forces to curb the growing knife culture in Australia.

Rose Tattoo frontman Angry Anderson, Melbourne youth worker Les Twentyman and prominent Melbourne priest Father Bob Maguire called for a national awareness campaign to reverse an alarming increase in armed attacks.

Figures recently released by Victoria Police show 752 robberies in the 2008-09 financial year involved knives, a nine per cent increase on the year before.

A growing number of attacks involving teenagers on city streets and in railway stations across the country has also prompted calls for government intervention.

"There are racial issues, cultural issues, a lot of issues to face here," Mr Anderson told reporters on Friday.

"The real issue is, they are our kids and they are killing one another, in schools, at stations, at bus stops, at sporting events."

Mr Anderson said worried parents had approached him with their concerns.

"You talk to mums and dads - domestic violence isn't in the home any more," he said.

"It's out on the street."

Victoria will hold an amnesty next month asking people to hand in knives, with no questions asked, while new laws will allow police to conduct random body searches in designated areas.

But Mr Twentyman said more needed to be done, with a hard-hitting education and advertising campaign at the top of his wish list.

He said children as young as six were carrying weapons and schools were no longer safe.

"Teachers are telling me they are going off on record amounts of stress (leave), because they are in an unsafe working environment now," he said.

"We have to start attacking this in the school yards and the classrooms, because that's where it is all starting.

"If we can't treat it there, I don't know how we are going to treat it on the streets out here."

Mr Twentyman, who has been stabbed twice, said the use of weapons became more prevalent locally after the 1992 Australian film Romper Stomper.

The film, which starred Russell Crowe, followed the exploits of a neo-Nazi skinhead group in the western Melbourne suburb of Footscray.

"When Romper Stomper hit our town ... particularly the Asian community feared for their safety," Mr Twentyman said.

"That was when I believe the weapon thing really started to explode."

He said a big-budget advertising campaign, similar to the one used by the Transport Accident Commission to curb drink driving, was needed. continues here

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