Be on the look-out for warning signs that could suggest a child may be involved in gang activity.
- A child or young person going missing from school or home or significant changes in emotional well-being or significant decline in school results/performance
- The use of drugs and alcohol
- A young person meeting unfamiliar adults or a change to their behaviour
- Relationships with controlling or older individuals or associated with gangs
- Receiving excessive amounts of texts or phone calls and/or having multiple mobile phone handsets
- Acquiring money or expensive gifts they can’t account for
- Suspicion of self-harm, physical assault or unexplained injuries
- Becoming isolated from peers or social networks
- Carrying weapons
There are things parents/guardians can do to help prevent their child from becoming involved in gangs.
- Talk to your child and listen
- Encourage them to get involved in positive activities and think about their future employment
- Get involved in your child’s school activities
- Know your child’s friends and their families
- Always know where your child is and who they are with
- Help them to cope with pressure and how to deal with conflict without use of violence
- Speak to them about the serious consequences that occur from violent or illegal behaviour. Help them to understand the dangers of being in a gang and find constructive alternative ways to use their time
- Keep lines of communication open
- Be aware of what your child is doing on the internet
- Look for ways of disciplining children that do not involve harshness, anger or violence
- Work with other parents and schools to watch their behaviour
- Contact local voluntary organisations that provide mentoring and other support for young people
- Talk about your child’s behaviour with their school and other parents
- Be aware of the websites your child is viewing. Social networking sites can provide access to images and words that promote gang culture. Chat rooms and texts can be used to bully young people into joining gangs
This leaflet: Advice to Parents and Carers on Gangs contains advice on what to do if you suspect your child is becoming involved in a gang.
This leaflet: Advice for Schools and Colleges on Gangs and Youth Violence.