Girls and Gangs
Gang violence continues to blight too many communities. As the CSJ has shown in two recent reports, gangs thrive when neighbourhoods are plagued by low employment, high family breakdown, addiction and poor educational achievement. The riots in August 2011 also highlighted the problem, with at least one in five of those arrested in London known to be part of a gang
This was recognised by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, The Rt Hon Theresa May MP:
One thing that the riots in August did do was to bring home to the entire country just how serious a problem gang and youth violence has now become.
The G overnment’s response to this the Ending Gang and Youth Violence Programme was heavily influenced by the CSJ’s in depth review of street gangs in the UK, Dying to Belong (2009). A year after the riots, however, we felt that the Government’s gang policy was drifting. Our report, Time to Wake Up (2012), showed that a long term vision or commitment to tackling this complex issue was lacking.
This short paper again calls on the Government to present a coherent, far sighted programme to tackle the UK’s gang problem. In doing so it highlights the plight of girls and young women associated with gangs, who are often marginalised in discussion of these issues.