Gangs are violent, law breaking groups who aim to terrorise urban communities with threats of violence and have a hunger for territorial control.

We’ve long witnessed vulnerable boys being drawn to the illogical security and perceived glamour a gang offers; a wish to be part of ‘the family’.

Those from dysfunctional, impoverished families are often the most vulnerable. But today it’s not restricted to the male gender, with young girls now being targeted by gangs.

Girls are hugely vulnerable to sexual exploitation and are a soft target to rival gangs. So why, and how, do girls get involved? This short quote from a young girl speaking to Childline earlier in the year demonstrates the pressure young girls face.

“I joined a gang so I would stop being bullied, but some of the things other gang members do has started to really bother me.

They say really offensive things to people and steal stuff. I don’t know who I can talk to. I’m worried. I want to get out.”

Young girls are being targeted because they’re considered ‘useful’. It’s the view of those within gangs that girls can fundamentally get away with more than their male counterparts – hiding drugs and weapons, stealing – without always getting noticed by the authorities. And for young girls, becoming a gang WAG overnight can offer instant credibility in a world that, to them, is repressive and uninspiring. It’s not good.

Charmed by unscrupulous boyfriends and trapped once they are involved in crime, girls as young as 12 are now being exploited. Those with low self-esteem or those vulnerable to sexual abuse face an especially high risk. And once they’re ‘in’ it’s almost impossible for them to leave.

Whether you’re a volunteer at an inner-city youth club, a teacher, or a frontline social care worker, you may well come across children who are targets of gang recruitment efforts. What can you do to prevent it? How do you warn against being drawn in? Who do you speak to if you suspect someone of being involved with a gang?

Depending on your role, an easy-to-use online e-learning course on gangs and youth violence can give you sensible advice and tips on what to look out for if you suspect a child is in trouble. The more contact you have with potentially vulnerable children, the more that may be relevant to you.

Interestingly, the demand for e-learning courses related to gang culture has increased significantly over the last few years with Local Authorities in large cities showing a particular interest on behalf of their social care teams.

Me Learning offers a comprehensive range of online safeguarding courses , all reasonably priced and easy to do. For our new course on ‘Gangs and Youth Violence’ in particular, take a look here.

It’s 60 minutes long and is a perfect introduction for staff and volunteers working with potentially vulnerable children, as well as parents with concerns. Costing just £20 it considers the current situation of gangs in the UK and how to safeguard children against gang recruitment. If you work with children in geographical locations where gangs are an issue then it’s definitely worth a look.

We’ve known for years that gang culture is not welcome in any society. With the rising involvement of girls, it’s a trend that needs dealing with now, before it’s too late.

Browse our course library, email or call 01273 499100 to find your perfect course, today.

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