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Girls and gangs – new working party to tackle violence

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Summary of story from The Guardian, October 31, 2011

A new UK working party to look at girls, gangs and the largely ignored issue of sexual violence is expected to be announced this week.

An anti-gang strategy which is the work of a joint working party run by the home secretary, Theresa May, and work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, is due to be published on Tuesday.

It is expected to include a recommendation that a new working party is set up to look specifically at girls in gangs and the extent to which they not only take part in violence but are also on the receiving end.

Young girls involved in gangs have been raped, tortured, kidnapped or used or sold to pay off debts according to recent research (see WVoN story). Both May and Duncan Smith believe that the scale of sexual violence involved in gangs has been ignored.

The girls and gangs working group, which will report to the larger joint working party on gangs, will include representatives from the voluntary, community and the criminal justice sector.

It will look at the extent of young girls’ and young women’s involvement in gangs and how to increase reporting of violence carried out by them.

It will also look at what is needed to improve understanding of the impact of gangs on young women and girls, and the extent to which they are victims of sexual assault.

  1. vicki wharton says:

    Yet another example of male MPs being totally focused on exit strategies for boys – there is no one in political power representing women and girls ….

    • I’m not sure what you mean Vicki. This article is about a working party specifically looking at girls and young women in gangs. Boys are not mentioned. Also, Theresa May is not a male MP…

      Is this not a positive initiative? At least in so much as it is recognising the involvement of girls in the gang culture both as active participants and victims. Perhaps this may start a realistic debate about the issues involved?

      • vicki wharton says:

        What I meant is that there has been a ten year focus on boys and gangs, and then they set up a little working party to address what has been a very real, and deliberately ignored problem about the violence and coercion girls are subjected to in and by gangs. I’m deeply cynical about Theresa May’s agenda and the Conservative’s agenda in appointing her as Women’s minister. I’ve spoken to her at a couple of conferences and get the feeling that she really isn’t that interested in equality if it means challenging men to share equally, so I feel she is a token women put into a position to represent half the population who really isn’t interested in their equality. Theresa May may be a woman, but she is more allied to men than she is to women in my opinion. Maybe I’m just tired of seeing politicians that set up committee after committee that do nothing about the findings of the reports they commission …

  2. I’m pretty cynical about most politicians, but I also believe that steps, even if they’re baby ones, in the ‘right’ direction are worth giving a little space and time to.

    So I guess we wait and see. If nothing else, the creation of this working group got some media coverage which means its ideas reached a few more people, and while that’s not going to solve the problem, or right past wrongs, it’s not such a bad thing in itself.

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