Serious Youth Violence
Young people associated with gangs are highly vulnerable. Sexual violence amongst peers is commonplace and it is used as a means of power and control over others, most commonly young women. Young people affected by or associated with gangs are at high risk of sexual exploitation and violence and will require safeguarding. Sexual exploitation is used in gangs to exert power and control over members / Initiate young people into the gang / exchange sexual activity for status or protection / entrap rival gang members by exploiting girls and young women and inflict sexual assault as a weapon in conflict.
Gangs are defined as mainly comprising men and boys aged 13-25 years old, who take part in many forms of criminal activity (e.g. knife crime or robbery) who can engage in violence against other gangs, and who have identifiable markers, for example a territory, a name, or sometimes clothing.
Groups are defined involves people who come together in person or online for the purpose of setting up, co-ordinating and/or taking part in the sexual exploitation of children in either an organised or opportunistic way.
Serious Youth Violence is defined as ‘any offence of most serious violence or weapon enabled crime, where the victim is aged 1-19’ i.e. murder, manslaughter, rape, wounding with intent and causing grievous bodily harm. ‘Youth violence’ is defined in the same way, but also includes assault with injury offences.
One factor which influences a child’s propensity to imitate violence is parenting which is permissive and neglectful, resulting in a lack of guidance and creating ineffectiveness and poor self-control for a child. The child is then not equipped to resist an environment or group which instigates violence.