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Children’s Commissioner for England warns the ‘same mistakes that led to child sexual exploitation failings are being repeated with gangs’.
Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, has published an in-depth study looking at children in England who are members of gangs. The report, “Keeping kids safe: Improving safeguarding responses to gang violence and criminal exploitation”, estimates there are 27,000 children in England who identify as a gang member, only a fraction of whom are known to children’s services.
Some of these children may only identify loosely with a gang and may not be involved in crime or serious violence: more concerning is the estimated 34,000 children who know gang members who have experienced serious violence in the last year. The research looks into the characteristics of children involved in gangs and also shows how a number of early warning signs of gang-based violence have been on the rise in recent years.The report also suggests safeguarding boards are frequently failing to investigate properly child deaths where gang violence was a factor. As a result, there is little evidence that they can ensure lessons are learnt in terms of protecting other children.
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