Gangs 11-15

What are gangs?

A group of mates who live in the same area as each other, or all go to the same school, and who hang around together is not a gang.  Everybody likes to feel part of a group, and that’s absolutely fine as long as what the group does is within the law.

Gangs are groups of people who may commit crimes or hurt people. They might carry knives or weapons and use them 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.

Some people join gangs because they think this will make them money or make them safer. Really, being in a gang can make people less safe, as rival gangs target them, and can end up with them in trouble with the police.

What can I do if I’m scared of gangs? 

People can feel intimidated and scared of gangs, especially if the gang is violent. You might feel worried about being threatened or attacked. If you’re scared of a gang, there are people who can help you:

  • Speak to the Police by calling 101 – they will be aware of gang activity and will support and advise you; or
  • talk to Voice – we’re here to help, no matter what the problem.

Isn’t it safer for me to join a gang?

You might feel that if you join a gang, you’ll be safe and not be picked on. But often this is isn’t true – being in a gang puts you in danger from people who are in other, rival gangs.

You’ll also be more at risk of carrying out a crime and having to answer to the police.

I’m being pressured into joining a gang, what can I do? 

No one has the right to force you into doing something – if they do, that’s a crime and you need to speak with the police.

It can be really difficult for children and young people to escape joining a gang especially if it’s in your neighbourhood. Being in a gang isn’t a crime in itself but it can put you at much more risk of hurting someone else or being hurt yourself.

If your group of friends starts to get involved with gangs, try to make new friends. It’s hard to leave behind your friends, but there are lots of other people out there for you to make friends with, and lots of other activities you can get involved with that could be a lot safer and more fun. The most important thing is to keep yourself safe.

Talk to Voice if you are feeling pressured into joining a gang.

You can also access free advice and support from ex gangmembers at Gangsline by calling 0800 032 9538 or 07753 351 256.

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