‘Vital’ gang awareness event praised by parents and gangs unit

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Parents of the community learned the warning signs of gang behavior as active gangs in the borough climb. (Credit: Ali Mitib)

A gang awareness workshop that helps parents spot warning signs around their children’s behaviour has received an overwhelmingly positive response from members of the community.

The Parent’s Voice workshop, hosted in Frampton Park Baptist Church, was created by The Crib – a social inclusion charity in Hackney. Its aim is to make parents aware of any signs that their child has gang affiliations, or has experienced sexual exploitation, domestic violence or drug use. The workshop features a traffic light system which aims to help parents spot risky behaviour.

“By identifying the signs and creating clear boundaries during the child’s transition, we can reduce the risk of danger. We do not want a child to go to a red sign. We want to stop them at amber and sort the issue out,” said Kelly Reid, co-ordinator for The Crib.

Attendees of the awareness event gave overwhelmingly positive feedback about its content and importance. Dionne Thomas, a mother and a resident of Hackney, told the Hackney Post: “This event is very important, because it is very beneficial for us to know what is going on in our communities.

“I have an 11-year-old child. They (gangs) are targeting people his age and getting them into drug dealing and gangs and I know a lot of my neighbours are dealing with this issue, so it is very important that we educate ourselves on how to spot the signs and keep our children safe,” said Thomas.

A member of Hackney’s Integrated Gangs Unit (IGU) – a group which has been working since 2010 to reduce violent, gang-related crime – told the Hackney Post that there are approximately 15 active gangs operating in the borough. On 7 November, a man was stabbed by a gang member in broad daylight in Hackney Wick.

The workshops often feature members of Hackney’s IGU. Dele Woye OBE, a member of the IGU, said: “Programmes such as Parent’s Voice are vital in empowering parents to give them awareness of another world that their kids are in.”