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Gang Violence

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What is Gang Violence?

Gang violence is usually described as part of a broader problem of youth violence and is defined by the Wales Violence Prevention Unit as follows:

“Gangs typically engage in criminal activity and use violence or intimidation to enhance or preserve their power, reputation, or economic resources. The nature of violence can vary largely, including homicide, knife and gun related offences, assault, and exploitive crimes. Young people involved with gangs might be victims of violence or pressured into doing things (e.g. stealing or carrying drugs or weapons). They might be abused, exploited and put into dangerous situations.”

Changes to the drugs market, including the County Lines model of exploitation, is partly responsible for fuelling an increase in gang violence, as gangs fight for control of territory and settle scores. Partnership work to End Gang Violence and Exploitation has been ongoing for several years and continues to be a UK Government priority within the Serious Violence Strategy and Beating Crime Plan. Within Wales, the Violence Prevention Unit is taking a public health approach to understanding youth violence and working with partners and service providers to deliver programmes and projects that ensure violence prevention activity in Wales is effective and sustainable. For information about general gang involvement see Child Criminal Exploitation.

What is Youth Violence?

Useful Links

Various resources can be found via the following sites and links:

Gangs – St Giles

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Gangs (county lines) – Fearless Professionals

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Youth Violence | Violence Prevention Unit

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Understanding the psychology of gang violence: implications for designing effective violence interventions

Read the Article

Criminal exploitation and gangs | NSPCC

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How the gangs violence matrix works | Metropolitan Police

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Ending gang violence and exploitation – GOV.UK

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Preventing youth violence and gang involvement – Practical advice for schools and colleges

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What is Joint Enterprise? – Life Or Knife – The choice is yours

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Joint enterprise law: what is it and why is it controversial?

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Joint Enterprise – House of Commons Library

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Help and Support

For victims, families and concerned people

Missing People offer a specialist support service for young people and parents/ carers, who are affected by gang exploitation and county lines. 

Missing People’s SafeCall is a confidential, non-judgemental, specialist support service for young people and their families living in Wales and England, who are worried about or affected by county lines. You can reach the SafeCall team on 020 8392 5710 Monday – Friday 9am-5pm or by completing the form.

If you call outside of these hours, you’ll be offered a chance to speak to someone on Missing People’s Runaway Helpline instead, which is free to call or text on 116 000. 

Young people can also give information anonymously about gangs at