Gangs

If you're worried about gangs, it can be difficult to know what to do to help protect young people.


What is a gang?

A street gang is a group of individuals or close friends identifying with or claiming control over territory in a community, and engaging either individually or collectively in violent behaviour or other types of criminal activity.

They might carry knives or other weapons and use them either to show off or to threaten people. They might try and get you involved with them and what they do – or threaten to hurt you if you don’t join them, or if you belong to another gang.

Being a victim of gang crime can happen to anyone; to you, other gangs or groups, or to whole communities. It often takes place in public areas, and you may or may not know the person or people committing the crime.

  If you're worried about gangs, it can be difficult to know   what to do to help protect young people.

  Call our 24-hour helpline anonymously: 0808 800 5000

  Text 88858 

  Emailhelp@nspcc.org.uk

  If you're worried about gangs, it can be difficult to know   what to do to help protect young people.

  Call our 24-hour helpline anonymously: 0808 800 5000

  Text 88858 

  Emailhelp@nspcc.org.uk

What are the signs to look out for?

There aren't any definite signs that show a child has joined a gang - and its unlikely that they'll tell you, but here are some things you can look out for:

  • spending time with people you don't know and aren't sure about
  • going missing from home or school
  • getting into trouble at school
  • having new clothes or other items that you think they can't afford
  • getting involved with crimes including robbery, violence, drug dealing and sexual exploitation
  • having unexplained injuries
  • losing interest in their existing hobbies
  • becoming secretive
  • not telling you where they have been or why they returned late

Founder of SOS Project and ex-gang member Junior Smart talks about the three big denials plaguing gangs and serious youth violence work.

Why do young people join gangs?

  • Feel a need for protection, security or safety
  • Power, money, sex, respect and status
  • A sense of identity and feel part of a family
  • To feel accepted by others
  • Gangs are common in their area
  • Fear of intimidation
  • They feel peer pressure to join a gang
  • Lack of family, cultural or institutional support
  • No positive role models to help and guide
  • Boredom as there is nothing else to do
  • Seems attractive and think it is cool

How you can help keep children and young people safe

How you can help keep children and young people safe

Whether they are thinking about joining, are already involved or would like to leave, there is help and support available.

You can suggest they contact one of the following organisations for confidential advice and help:


Childline

Free, 24-hour helpline: 0800 1111

Online chat or Email

Info and advice page

 

Victim Support

You do not have to report the crime to the police to get support from them

You & Co youth programme 


NSPCC

24-hour helpline: 0808 800 5000

Text 88858  or Email: help@nspcc.org.uk

Keeping children safe: gangs

Support Groups for Parents/Carers and Young People

Gangsline

Confidential helpline: 0800 032 9538

Their parenting page offers help and info, including legal advice.

Offers outreach support to young men and women involved in gang culture and works to promote organisations and individuals in a community working together to tackle gang culture, including the rise of child exploitation within UK gang culture.


Family Lives

Charity offering support to parents to deal with the changes of family life.

Confidential helpline: 0808 800 2222

Share experiences and advice with other parents on the Online Forums

Watch free videos on ParentchannelTV 

Info and advice page 


Specialist Groups

The SOS project (part of St Giles Trust), gives advice to young adults who want to get out of gang related activity. This includes Expect Respect - a specialist service for girls and young women.

http://reacheverygeneration.co.uk/

Training and coaching

https://www.catch-22.org.uk/offers/gangs/

Intervention work to prevent young people from becoming involved in gangs