Gang members: hidden victims?…

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/ monkeybusinessimages

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/ monkeybusinessimages

Gangs are a bit scary. Kids in gangs certainly don’t look like victims.

In fact the word “gang” itself evokes images of violent young people, up to no good and creating victims of crime.

We know there’s more to it than that.

For instance gang members have higher than normal rates of mental health issues. But new research suggests that gang-affiliated young people may have a lot more to lose than their mental health.

The hidden victims in gangs…

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Gang membership & mental health…

“It’s a thug’s life!”

So said one of the lads I worked with in youth justice, when I asked about the violence he’d seen, suffered and taken part in.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Aestusx

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Aestusx

Gang membership was part of the problem. We spent the next two years working to help him through it.

A recent study from Queen Mary, University of London has shown unprecedented levels of psychiatric illness among young men in gangs.

Here’s what they found…

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Gangs: a danger to our daughters…

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Aestusx

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Aestusx

When I think of gangs, I tend to think about groups of kids who, in some cases, might be a risk to others.

For the most part, I don’t connect gang membership itself as being risky to young people in the same gang.

But, along with abuse from other gangs this is actually what happens, particularly for girls. The following summarises the initial findings of ongoing research into the sexual abuse of girls in the context of gang membership.

So what happens in gangs…

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