Students – including one who witnessed two of her friends being stabbed – say they feel better prepared to help knife crime victims after taking part in lifesaving workshops.
Around 25 students from Westminster Kingsway College have participated in practical sessions run by StreetDoctors over the past two years as part of the college’s Safer Learner Month.
StreetDoctors is a national charity based in Hackney that teaches lifesaving, emergency and first aid skills to young people at risk of youth violence to keep themselves and others safe.
A Level student Salma Dekhissi, 17, from Southwark, who wants to become a criminal lawyer, recalled how her schoolfriend was killed and another was injured in knife attacks.
She said: “A couple of times in the past I witnessed a friend being stabbed. They were situations that I had no control over. The pressure was overwhelming and made me feel extremely guilty and distraught as there was no way I could help.
“The StreetDoctors workshop was extremely helpful. In a society where knife crime is extremely common, I believe it should be something that all young people should take part in. I can now confidently say I would be completely prepared to handle a situation like this in the future.”
StreetDoctors works with schools, colleges, community groups and criminal justice organisations to provide training through a team of healthcare volunteers made up of university medical students. Sessions look at what to do when someone is bleeding or unconscious including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training.
Nafiye Dervish, 18, from Enfield, who is studying Health and Social Care and also attended the StreetDoctors session, said: “Attending this workshop has helped me prepare for my future career as I have the intention of becoming a nurse.
“I learnt the basics of first aid with the emphasis on helping victims of knife crime. I now know how to support someone if they are heavily bleeding from an injury until medical help arrives. I have also learnt the importance of reacting quickly and communicating with the patient in order to reassure them and if they need anything.
“I definitely feel more prepared and aware of what I need to do in order to help save someone’s life.”
Since 2013 StreetDoctors has run 932 sessions in 17 cities across the country to teach more than 18,000 young people emergency and first aid skills.
Esther Dahan, Enrichment Officer at WestKing, said: “We are keen to provide our learners with not just lifesaving skills, but also promote awareness around the limitations of the human body and the implications of violence.
“Student reactions to the programme have been wonderful. They always leave with expanded minds, having explored some of the implications of knife crime, and feeling more confident in their ability to save a life should they ever find themselves in such a situation.”