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If you're worried about gangs, it can be difficult to know what to do to help protect young people.

On this page, we provide information on signs to look out for, support groups available for young people and parents/carers as well links to resources for further information and advice.



What is a gang?



A street gang is a group of individuals or close friends identifying with or claiming control over territory in a community, and engaging either individually or collectively in violent behaviour or other types of criminal activity.


They might carry knives or other weapons and use them either to show off or to threaten people. They might try and get you involved with them and what they do – or threaten to hurt you if you don’t join them, or if you belong to another gang.


Being a victim of gang crime can happen to anyone; to individuals, other gangs or groups, or to whole communities. It often takes place in public areas, and you may or may not know the person or people committing the crime.


Criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: county lines guidance - Home Office Guidance for frontline professionals



What to look out for?


There aren't any definite signs but here are some things to look out for:



Why do young people join gangs?



Junior Smart SOS Project

Founder of SOS Project and ex-gang member Junior Smart talks about the three big denials plaguing gangs and serious youth violence work.



Resources and Support Groups


Gangsline - Confidential helpline: 0800 032 9538. Outreach support to young men and women, works to promote organisations and individuals in a community working together to tackle gang culture, including the rise of child exploitation.


Family Lives - Confidential helpline:0808 800 2222 Charity offering support to parents to deal with the changes of family life.


The SOS project (part of St Giles Trust) - advice to young adults who want to get out of gang related activity. This includes Expect Respect - a specialist service for girls and young women.


Junior Smart Gangs Leaflet - for parents


Junior Smart County Line Leaflet - for parents


Reach Every Generation - Training and coaching


Catch-22 - Intervention work to prevent young people from becoming involved in gangs


Childline - Free, 24-hour helpline: 0800 1111 Online chat or Email


NSPCC - 24-hour helpline: 0808 800 5000 Text 88858  Email:


Victim Support - 08 08 16 89 111 You & Co youth programme