The rise in crime involving young people in inner cities in the UK has resulted in media attention on gangs, with a particular focus on knife crime. However, the debate on how to tackle the issue and keep young people safe, is primarily focused on young men and boys. The young women and girls associated with these crimes, both as victims and participants in violence are usually an afterthought. This has to change.
In September 2018, I travelled to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC and New Orleans to meet with politicians, outreach workers, the police and criminal justice professionals to find out what they are doing to reduce the impact of youth violence on young women and girls and what programmes have been effective at working with young men and boys on issues around healthy relationships. Often, intervention and disruption programmes for these young people are measured on the success of stopping the criminal or gang behaviour that the young person has been referred into the service for. However, if we are not seizing that opportunity to reduce all harmful behaviours, these young men may no longer be gang members, but they may continue to perpetrate abuse in their adult relationships causing harm not only to the victims, but to their wider communities and at a cost to public services.
WATCH: Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London references the Girls and Gangs report during the Mayoral Question Time debate 21/03/2019.
Read the full report here.
Follow the research and debate on twitter by searching #girlsandgangs and following me at @SJuryDada.
Formerly an elected Labour Councillor in the London Borough of Southwark, I currently work as a public sector consultant at IMPOWER. Prior to this, I worked for a national domestic abuse charity and in Parliament.
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