A gang can be a group of mates who hang around together. But some gangs are involved in crime. Sometimes gangs are violent and might fight other gangs or carry weapons. If you’re being forced to join a gang you should tell someone about it, or call Childline.
What is a gang?
Being in a gang can make you feel part of something or that you belong.
But some gangs take part in criminal activity and might try to get you involved with them. Being part of a gang like this can be dangerous. Sometimes you can be forced to commit a crime or do things that are unsafe.
If a gang carries knives or other weapons, they might get them out to show off or intimidate people. This can be very scary for other people, especially if they think the gang will use them
Why do people join gangs?
Young people join gangs for lots of different reasons. Some of these include:
- fitting in with friends and other gang members
- having the same interests as other people, like sports or music
- feeling respected and important
- to be protected from bullying or from other gangs
- making money from crime or drugs
- gaining status and feeling powerful.
Hanging out with your friends can be a good way to get to know each other and share hobbies and interests. But it can become dangerous if you join a gang that does illegal things like theft or gun and knife crime.
You don't have to join a gang if you don't feel comfortable or sure about things.
I'm scared of gangs what can I do?
Some people can feel intimidated and scared of gangs especially if the gang is involved in violence or crime.
You might feel worried about:
- being threatened or attacked
- bullying or being made to feel unsafe
- crime or being robbed
- physical abuse or sexual abuse
- racism and discrimination.
If you have been affected by something involving a gang, you can talk to a counsellor. They'll support you and you can talk about anything.
For more information about the law, how to leave and how to help someone visit childline