Gang culture is partly caused by absent fathers and family breakdown, a teachers’ union says.
The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, has released findings of independent research it commissioned into gangs and schools.
The research examines the scale and nature of gang-related activity in UK schools. It highlights deprivation, family breakdown, the absence of father figures and lack of positive activities as reasons for the emergence of gang culture.
The study reports that children feel “most impressionable at ages 13 and 14” but staff raised concerns that even children of primary school age were at risk of gang involvement.
This is not the first time family breakdown has been linked to gang culture.
In an earlier report released in April, NASUWT, the same teachers’ union behind the latest findings, said that children often joined gangs to seek the security they lacked at home.
The report suggested: “The lack of positive role models, the absence of a father in the home combined with too much freedom were seen to result in groups of young people with no respect for their elders.”
In the same month the local MP of Rhys Jones, the innocent murder victim of Liverpool gang violence, blamed a lack of family values for the teenage gang culture blighting the local area.
Bob Wareing MP told the BBC: “The problems of young people starts in the home. It is parental control. You can go round the areas in Liverpool, not just in Croxteth, and you can see young people out after midnight hanging around street corners. What are their parents doing?”
In July last year a leading police officer warned that family breakdown can drive teenagers into a “gang culture based on violence and drugs”.
Barbara Wilding, the Chief Constable of South Wales Police, described an “angry” generation of young people seeking to replace their broken family ties with the tribal loyalty of gangs.
In May Iain Duncan Smith, head of the Centre for Social Justice, also warned that many boys are turning to gang leaders and drug dealers for role models to replace absent fathers.
He also said that girls who have never known the empathetic, unconditional love of a father are left vulnerable to early, unprotected and often regretted sex.