This report shines a light on the harrowing reality of gang life for girls and young women.
In conducting this research, the CSJ and XLP have engaged with a wide range of individuals and organisations involved in gangs from across the UK, drawing on the expertise of the CSJ’s 350-strong Alliance of poverty-fighting charities. We spoke to many girls and young women who are or have been gang-associated and more than 30 organisations working to tackle gang problems.
The stories we have heard shocked us, and reveal a parallel world that too few policy makers understand. We have heard about the toll gang life is taking on their education, and their families, friends and communities; the horror of sexual exploitation; and of an increase in criminal activity. Yet we also found several things that can be done to help girls exit gang association such as mapping the problem, and taking advantage of specific ‘windows of opportunity’ to access girls.
We hope that this research gives policy makers and community leaders an insight into a world that has been long-neglected, and empowers them to help support girls to exit gang association.