New report looks at the role of the family in facilitating gang membership


A new report about gang membership has been published, which explores the role of the family in a young person’s decision to join a gang.

The report by London Metropolitan University found that families of ‘gang’-involved young people suffer a major source of stress and that the decision to join a gang is due to a broad range of issues, such as having ‘gang’-involved relatives, fatherlessness, domestic violence and parental neglect.

The report also found that a third of gang members interviewed across London, the West Midlands and Scotland were from a home where both biological parents were present.

The report goes on to say: “Many of these families should be described as ‘beleaguered’ as it is a non-stigmatising term.
“Local practitioners need to be aware of the local criminal landscape because one size, as they say, does not fit all.”

Despite a wealth of available interventions, sending relatives away to another area was often seen by practitioners, and family members, as the only viable solution to ending their gang involvement.

Tara Young, who co-authored the report, said: “We mustn’t simply say young people join gangs because they come from broken or abusive homes. This creates a very misleading impression of the families of gang members.

“Gang members in this study came from families of all shapes and sizes.”

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