Police in the UK are attempting to save the lives of domestic violence survivors by swapping their kitchen knives with blunt utensils.
Nottinghamshire Police is piloting the scheme in the hope it will help prevent partners attacking spouses in their own home.
It comes after increasing numbers of knife-related incidents in the home, with police claiming the new scheme could help save lives.
The scheme has been criticised widely, with many referring to the decision as ‘ludicrous’ and ‘the dumbest thing’ they’ve ever heard.
However, the police force have defended the decision, insisting critics had ‘got the whole idea wrong’.
As per the BBC, the force’s new knife crime strategy manager, Supt Matt McFarlane, said:
It’s a very small trial, and it will always be part of a much wider range of measures that we are doing to safeguard and protect that victim.
We will simply have these as an offer to somebody in appropriate circumstances and they can have them if they think they want them.
We can debate something theoretically or from a psychological perspective all day long. Sometimes you need to try something and see if it works or not.
As reported by ITV News, approximately 100 ‘no-point’ knives will be given to people who have either been threatened or attacked with a knife in the past.
Despite the insistence of the police that this a positive move forward, thousands have responded to the news with dismay and have voiced concerns the policy is irresponsible.
Dr Jessica Eaton, a specialist in interpersonal abuse, initially thought the trial was a joke, stating victims could be attacked with ‘anything’.
I feel like we are getting dumber and dumber around domestic violence.
So you gonna leave her in the situation but nip round to provide the offender with some blunt knives?
IN DV, ANYTHING IS A WEAPON, YOU MORONS. https://t.co/Lb4mrkBWSk
— Dr. Jessica Eaton (@Jessicae13Eaton) June 12, 2019
Dr Eaton spoke to the BBC about why she feels the move will only anger perpetrators:
What do they think will happen when the perpetrator finds the knives and asks what happened to the normal ones? It undermines the perpetrator from a psychological point of view.
It’s a huge red flag to them: ‘Who did you tell?’ It’s going to cause an argument. [The police have] not thought that through.
An estimated 2 million adults aged between 16 and 59 experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Many survivors of domestic abuse have since taken to Twitter to voice their concerns:
When my ex choked me I thought to myself gee I'm glad I'm surrounded be all these blunt objects I'm safe now 🙄
— 🏳️🌈Katie 'The Fluff'🏳️🌈 (@MummyTBD) June 12, 2019
As a survivor of domestic abuse, i'd much prefer the court system actually DO something, and prosecute my abuser rather than replace kitchen knives with ones that would actually cause just as much damage when used with more force. But ok. Yeah. Thanks. I'll sleep better now.
— Alice; (@Melkur_Mistress) June 13, 2019
One woman I met @womensaid had been repeatedly raped with a rolling pin and had her face smashed into the kitchen sideboard. Both are very blunt instruments. A red hot iron or a kettle of scalding water are regularly used. This plan is so stupid it takes my breath away.
— Dr Jo Bell (@Jo_Bell) June 12, 2019
However, one domestic abuse survivor told the Nottingham Post the idea was ‘100 per cent positive’.
Fiona McCulloch explained having a blunt knife in her situation ‘would have taken that risk away’.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership with Women’s Aid and Refuge) on 0808 2000 247.
A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).