Do you think a friend is involved in group violence?
It can be very easy to get drawn into gangs. Try to understand why your friend might have done it. Maybe it's because they think gangs:
- provide easy access to money
- seem cool
- offer protection
- give a sense of belonging
But there are lots of reasons why your friend might find it hard to get out of a gang:
- they probably know it's wrong, but are scared to leave
- they may have been threatened or are worried they'll get into trouble
- they might feel loyal to the gang
- it can be very difficult getting out of a bad situation
What can you do?
It can be very dangerous getting mixed up in gangs. If you think your friend will listen, encourage them to talk to someone:
- their parents or a responsible adult
- a teacher, your Safer Schools Officer or your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team
- a professional in confidence at ChildLine on 0800 1111 - they won't have to give their name so if they're worried about owning up to what they've been doing, you can tell them not to worry
If you don't think they'll listen to you, don't risk it; talk to someone yourself. You will be doing them a favour in the long run:
There is absolutely no excuse for violence so if your friend has hurt someone you must report it, even if you think your friend might get into trouble. It's better that they get into trouble now than get into more serious trouble in the future - or worse get themselves or someone else seriously injured or even killed.
- You can go into your nearest police station or speak to your Safer Schools Officer or your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team - if it's an emergency and someone is in immediate danger you should call 999.
- If you feel unable to talk to the police, you can call the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111 (you won't have to give your name and your call will not be traced).
- Or for more information visit the Reporting crime section on the Metropolitan Police website or the How to contact us page on this site.
Getting more help
There are also many trained professionals who can offer confidential help and advice to both your friend, and to you. Visit our More help and advice page.