NSPCC launches helpline service for parents worried about gangs


Adults who are worried a child might be at risk from being involved with gangs can now contact the NSPCC helpline (0808 800 5000).


The NSPCC is launching the service, which will be delivered through its existing helpline, to support parents as figures show that one in six 13 to 15-year-olds say they know someone in a street gang1.The charity is also responding to concerns from across the sector that too many children are being left to ruin their lives in gangs and need adults to intervene and help them.


The new initiative has been made possible through funding and support from the Home Office. The department’s Ending Gang and Youth Violence Programme has helped provide specialist training2 for NSPCC helpline practitioners – who will be able to help identify whether the behaviour the caller is concerned about indicates that a young person is involved in a gang.


John Cameron, NSPCC Head of Child Protection Operations said:


“Young people involved in gangs are frequently abused, exploited and put in dangerous situations.


“We know from listening to children that they are often terrified of what they are doing and want to leave gangs and we believe adults have an incredibly important role to play in helping them to break free.


“Parents, carers and other adults often struggle to know where to turn when faced with a young person who they think might be involved in a gang. This is exactly why we are extending our 24/7, anonymous helpline – so we can offer advice, support and information on what action they can take.


“Through our new helpline service and by working together with other agencies we can help stop young people’s lives from being ruined by gangs.”


Crime Prevention at the Home Office Minister Norman Baker said:

“Gang culture is a destructive element in our society, for both the individuals caught up in it, and indeed for the communities unfortunate enough to come into contact with gangs.

“As part of our Ending Gang and Youth Violence programme, we pledged to prevent young people getting involved in gangs, to help those already involved in gangs to leave, and to work with the NSPCC to extend their extremely important helpline.

“By offering specialist backing and support, this service will empower parents and others to help the young people they are concerned about to find help, turn their lives around and leave the corrosive life of gang violence behind them.”


Street ambassadors will promote the helpline service to communities in the 33 local authority areas identified by the Home Office as places where gang culture is deemed to be an issue3. The service will also be promoted through a poster campaign and a specially produced video which will help adults to identify if a young person may be at risk4.


Anyone who has concerns about a child or wants advice can contact the NSPCC for free 24 hours a day, by calling 0808 800 5000, emailing help@nspcc.org.uk, texting 88858 or using an online reporting form. They can choose to remain anonymous if they wish.