Children’s Voices: A review of evidence on the subjective wellbeing of children involved in gangs in England
This paper reports the findings from an evidence review of the views, perspectives and experiences of children in involved in gangs, on matters related to their subjective wellbeing.
The report forms part of a series of studies examining the subjective wellbeing of vulnerable groups of children in England. This series was produced as part of a larger project focused on improving evidence about childhood vulnerability.
Objectives of the review
The main objectives of the review were:
- to identify, appraise and synthesize published qualitative evidence on the subjective wellbeing of children in detention in England
- to draw out key findings and conclusions from the evidence, as well as identifying any important gaps.
The review was limited to the exploration of qualitative evidence concerning the subjective views and experiences of children in England, published from 2007 to 2017.
The review focused on studies that captured and presented the direct voices, and first-hand accounts, of children. Adult perspectives on childhood experiences, and studies with excessive mediation and intervention by the author interrupting children’s accounts, were avoided or deprioritised. The team considered accounts by children of their own experiences, as well as their perceptions and reports of the experiences of their peers.
The review only considered literature containing evidence on the experiences and views of vulnerable children ages 17 years or under. Retrospective accounts of childhood, provided by adults from 18 years onwards, were generally avoided, due to the methodological limitations of such studies; however, decisions regarding the inclusion of studies containing retrospective accounts were made on a case-by-case basis (see Appendix 1: Quality appraisal tool).
Methodological criteria for the inclusion of studies were broad and flexible (see Appendix 1). There was no minimum sample size threshold for the inclusion of a study in the review; given the qualitative, personal and subjective focus of the research, diary studies of a single young person were considered eligible for review.
Finally, the review prioritised studies which had entailed the collection of primary data; secondary literature based on analysis of pre-existing data was generally avoided, except where this information was necessary to offset important gaps in primary evidence