What is a gang? 

A gang is defined as being a discernible group of individuals who operate together for the purposes of serious criminal acts and/or violence.  The actions of gangs can have a huge effect on the community, often making people feel unsafe in the area that they live or work.

There are lots of ways that gangs may identify themselves including by using tags/logos, a group name or wearing specific colours for example.  Young people may want to be part of a gang as it can make them feel protected or provide them with a sense of belonging. 

It is important to remember though that being part of a gang can be dangerous and carries lots of risk.  The use of weapons amongst gangs is common place, particularly knives.  They are often used to intimidate others as well as to commit crime.  Young people who end up involved with gangs often feel pressured to carry knives and other weapons.  More information on the risk of carrying knives can be found here.

There are other risks too; by involving themselves with a gang, rival groups/gangs can be prompted to respond, increasing the risk of violence and injury.  There’s also the risk of getting an extensive criminal record by being involved in the crime that gangs commit.  

Gangs are often seen as only involving males but females can be involved too.  They may be core members of the gang and involved in violence and criminality or may be involved through their relationship with other gang members. 

If you think your child is involved or may be becoming involved in a gang, it’s important to firstly have a conversation with them and to signpost them to support that is available.

 

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