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Young People in gangs learning from current data and practice Lorraine Khan, Associate Director, Children and Young People Programme.

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Presentation on theme: "Young People in gangs learning from current data and practice Lorraine Khan, Associate Director, Children and Young People Programme."— Presentation transcript:

1 Young People in gangs learning from current data and practice Lorraine Khan, Associate Director, Children and Young People Programme

2 A need to belong: what leads girls to join gangs?

3 Key messages Girls in gangs are much more vulnerable than other young women who get into trouble vulnerable in many different ways vulnerable throughout their lives

4 Data and literature review 8029 Young people screened across 37 sites 80 young women identified with gang associations Tracking 28 risk factors and health difficulties Comprehensive review of the literature

5 Girls in gangs: multiple vulnerabilities Girls in gangs have higher numbers of multiple vulnerabilities

6 Family based risk factors Girls in gangs are… 5 times more likely to have parent in prison 3 times more likely to have parent with mental health/substance misuse problems Nearly 4 times more likely to have sibling involved in anti-social behaviour More than 3 times more likely to experience neglect and family conflict

7 Relationships Girls in gangs times more likely to experience poor relationships

8 Victimisation Girls in gangs are… 4 times more likely to be bullied 3 times more likely to be physically abused 3 times more likely to have been sexually abused and to have sexual health problems

9 Mental health and well being 40% had signs of early starting behavioural difficulties Most common and damaging childhood mental health problem

10 What behaviour? Over 4 times more likely to have run away 28% had been excluded 62% involved in aggression/violent acts Nearly 3 times more likely to be using drugs/alcohol Over 5 times more likely to be involved in risky sexual activity

11 Early behavioural problems affect children’s life chances

12 Mental health and well being A third had patterns of self-harm or suicide risks A quarter had a diagnosable mental health difficulty A third had experienced bereavement A third had sleeping/eating problems

13 Need a two pronged strategy 1.Prevention is better than cure 2.But when girls join gangs - need safe and gender-specific exit pathways

14 What are the clues? Early starting behavioural problems School non attendance and exclusion Early sexualised behaviour/staying away from home Repeat presentation with sexual health problems Violence Parents in prison using substances or with mental health problems Sibling, family or boyfriend involved in gang From gang involved estate Poor relationships/bullying/low self esteem

15 Prevention priorities All sector commitment - making every contact count Reduce maltreatment/neglect and build resilience Intervene early at the first signs of poor child mental health – early behaviour is important Evidence-based outreach approaches

16 Girls enter gangs for different reasons… So they need different routes out which… create safe female spaces and safe exit pathways make use of and help build positive attachments support self-esteem, aspiration and empowerment address histories of victimisation and trauma

17 Effective commissioning Family Nurse Partnerships Good quality targeted pre school education Primary school Systematic tracking of well being Aspiration and esteem and asset building Easy access, relational based/gender sensitive, outreaching and engaging support in schools/communities Big sister, Big Brother programme Multi systemic therapy/Functional Family Therapy Multi dimensional fostering treatment Well timed trauma-based interventions Positive and safe relationships

18 Challenges in the system Austerity measures are affecting early intervention and prevention…

19 And yet… Without prevention, these girls… drift into high costs services carry forward legacies of disadvantage and victimisation Impact on community well-being

20 Summary Girls in gangs are: highly vulnerable and costly They need: whole-system, preventative, and life-course approaches to: help them flourish reduce accumulation of risk gender-specific, evidence -based and safe exit routes should they end up in gangs

21 Emerging issues from evaluation of the London Integrate model

22 Dr Charlie Howard’s model: Integrate model Street Therapy © for young people involved in gangs Patient and flexible engagement relationships co-production and empowerment Highly outreaching and flexible Strength and resilience-based Promoting life opportunities Builds bridges to/strengths in systems/communities surrounding young people Weaves therapeutic responses into youth work approaches

23 Lessons from interim evaluation Mental well being 34 young people – TAG screened Point 1: 90% of individuals scored highly on risk to or from others 30% reduction in severity of mental health presentation by point 2 (Statistically significant) Longer contact time = better mental health outcomes 47% of young people displayed levels of distress above clinical cut-off General hypersensitivity to admitting vulnerability

24 Other important findings Exclusion from school was a critical turning point for these young men – big regret. Should evidence-based employment opportunities (IPS - place and support) be adapted for gang involved young men? Gang projects struggle to get systematic and accurate police/offending data to assess shifts in offending - critical to assess cost effectiveness

25 A different language Have different vocabulary for describing well being Hyper sensitive to admitting vulnerability Have different language: Flight/fight – ‘chilled’ versus ‘stressed’. Feelings of risk and safety - Toxic stress? Described a beneficial process of ‘knowing themselves’ through the project.

26 Beneficial aspects of the model Aspects of project seemingly benefitting their mental health: Recovery approach Hope Agency Opportunity Empowerment and purposeful activity Practical help Psychologically informed environment (PIE): being in positive environment and having contact with calm, encouraging, positive people, modelling Some prompt talking therapy – some don’t.

27 How young people describe the therapeutic benefits It’s a place for young people to get away, that’s what I seen it as. Even if it is once or twice a week, it’s a break from life. As well as it not just being a break, you know, they help people, know yourself. For a lot of people round here it’s not easy knowing yourself, or knowing what you want to do as a person; so I think coming here and doing different things, people learn a lot about themselves and they learn what they like and what they don’t like and stuff like that. I'm managing, I'm coping a lot better than I would have, a lot better than I would have [before coming here], for example these [setbacks I told you about] … would have stressed me out so much and I'd have got angry about it, I'd have got so angry about it, but now I've learnt there's no point in getting angry about it, it happened to hundreds of people across Britain, it's not just me.

28 Some practice implications Need Recovery approach for gang involved young men? These young men get angry at lack of sustainability of projects ‘pilot’ fatigue increases distrust Real job opportunities (with in placement support) are critical School exclusion should prompt multi sector prevention Police outcome data is critical

29 Thank you


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