How Can We Prevent Girls From Joining Gangs?

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Cover of Changing Course: Preventing Gang Membership

This page gives an overview of one section of the book Changing Course: Preventing Gang Membership.

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Contrary to conventional stereotypes, girls join gangs in large numbers. In the U.S., girls may comprise at least one-quarter of all youth gang members. Girls join gangs for many of the same reasons boys do — such as a sense of belonging, excitement or protection — but girls also present some gender-specific concerns. For example, girls are more likely than boys to seek “safety” from sexual abuse by joining a gang, but girls actually face an even greater risk of sexual victimization as a result of gang-joining. Prevention efforts should focus on helping girls stay in school, avoid substance abuse and abusive boyfriends, and delay early sexual activity and parenthood.

In the Spotlight: This chapter features an interview with Marian Daniel, Founder of the Female Intervention Team, which operates within the Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice.

Read the Changing Course chapter “How Can We Prevent Girls From Joining Gangs?” by Meda Chesney-Lind (pdf, 13 pages).

Date Created: September 16, 2013