If you are in immediate danger or know another child who is then please call 999
What it is
A gang can be a group of friends who hang around together. However some gangs are involved in offending and crime. Sometimes gangs are violent and carry weapons, sometimes they fight other gangs. Some young people are forced to join a gang and forced to commit crimes. If you feel you are being forced or someone you know is then you should tell someone at home or in your school about it. You can also call ChildLine on 0800 111.
Why do people join gangs?
Young people may join gangs for different reasons including:
- To feel they belong to their local group
- Sharing same hobbies and identity
- To feel respected and with status
- To protect themselves from other local gangs/groups
- To gain some money (illicit through drugs or money from crime or drugs
- Gaining status and feeling powerful.
Hanging out with your friends can be a good way to get to know each other and share hobbies and interests. But it can become dangerous if you join a gang that does illegal things like theft or gun and knife crime.
You don't have to join a gang if you don't feel comfortable or sure about things.
I want out!
Leaving a gang can depend on how involved you have been in it. It’s not always easy. But it’s possible to leave safely if the right steps and support are taken.
- Speak to your family or someone you trust about your concerns and your intentions to leave
- Decide the best way to leave the gang in a safe manner
- Keep yourself busy with positive activities (your mates will love to see you succeed)
- Access local charities and organisations that can support you
- Contact Barnet Family Services for further advice.
Some gangs are involved in crime, drugs, violence and other illegal activities. If you're part of a gang like this it can be dangerous.
It can also mean being:
- Controlled by older members of the gang
- Given money or things you like but this could easily change and you might be treated differently
- Threatened or forced to do things you don't want to do
- Worried about your safety and the safety of your family or friends
- Worried about fights with other gangs.
- It is important to think about your future and how being in a gang can affect your life. For example, not being able to finish school or college, not being able to get a job and not being able to ever feel safe.
If you want to report a crime or talk about something illegal that has happened, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.