Camulos Academy

Bringing Learning to Life


A street gang is a group of individuals or close friends identifying with or claiming control over territory in a community, and engaging either individually or collectively in violent behaviour or other types of criminal activity.


They might carry knives or other weapons and use them either to show off or to threaten people. They might try and get you involved with them and what they do – or threaten to hurt you if you don’t join them, or if you belong to another gang.


Being a victim of gang crime can happen to anyone; to individuals, other gangs or groups, or to whole communities. It often takes place in public areas, and you may or may not know the person or people committing the crime.


What to look out for?


There aren't any definite signs but here are some things to look out for:

  • spending time with people you don't know and aren't sure about
  • going missing from home or school
  • getting into trouble at school
  • having new clothes or other items that you think they can't afford
  • getting involved with crimes including robbery, violence, drug dealing and sexual exploitation
  • having unexplained injuries
  • losing interest in their existing hobbies
  • becoming secretive
  • not telling you where they have been or why they returned late


Why do young people join gangs?


  • They feel a need for protection, security or safety
  • For power, money, sex, respect and status 
  • For a sense of identity and to feel part of a family
  • To feel accepted by others
  • Gangs are common in their area
  • Fear of intimidation
  • They feel peer pressure to join a gang
  • Lack of family, cultural or institutional support
  • They do not have positive role models to help and guide them
  • Boredom as there is nothing else to do 


Junior Smart SOS Project

Founder of SOS Project and ex-gang member Junior Smart talks about the three big denials plaguing gangs and serious youth violence work.







Junior Smart Gangs Leaflet - for parents 


Junior Smart County Line Leaflet - for parents



Where to get help? 


Gangsline parenting page offers help and info, including legal advice.

Confidential helpline: 0800 032 9538


Family Lives offering support to parents to deal with the changes of family life.

Confidential helpline: 0808 800 2222