This is the third blog in our gang series which will discuss how to help and advise youths if they want to leave a gang.
All gangs are different and have different sets of rules. However if you are involved with gang culture or you are worried about a family member or student or friend, there are ways to leave a gang.
The reasons an individual may give for joining a street gang vary as discussed in our previous blogs. Even though life in a gang might start off looking glamourous and elite, or offer some sort of protection and family life, the reality is often very harsh. Gang membership or gang affiliation will often mean putting your future in jeopardy and the end result could lead to prison or something even worse. The reality is that the longer a youth is involved in a gang, the harder it is for them to leave.
Positive steps must be taken to help an individual find the courage to leave a gang. The following are some tips to help if you want to leave a gang:
- Talk to someone you trust. This could be a youth worker or teacher or a trusted family member.
- Try to make friends with those who are not involved with gangs. Form more positive friendship groups.
- Find or take up new hobbies or do things you enjoy such as joining a sports club or music group. This will give you a new focus and new people to associate with.
- Try to avoid places or areas where you know gangs hang out or congregate.
- Make contact with organisations such as Gangsline. Here you can get advice from former gang members who have personal experiences of being in a gang and understand what you are going through.
Gang involvement has no positives. It brings trouble and distress, not only for its members but for their families. However, it is possible to leave a gang and have a productive and positive future.