Engaging with “gang”-related youths as a means to reduce violence in Glasgow: Lessons learned from the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence

Damien John Williams, Peter Duncan Donnelly

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The social patterning of violence, whereby those in the most deprived areas are at greatest risk of victimisation/perpetration, is a concern in Scotland. The situation is most evident in Glasgow with the presence of young “street gangs”, which comprise youths from some of the most deprived areas in Scotland participating in “recreational violence”. In an attempt to tackle this problem the Community initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) has adopted an enlightened approach to identifying gang-related youths in the North and East of Glasgow and offering educational, social, health, and diversionary services and programmes to those who pledge to give-up their violent lifestyle and voluntarily engage with the initiative. There are, however, a number of ethical issues that arise through reflective practice and interaction with the youths. In particular, issues around identification, while facilitating the provision of help where it is most needed, necessarily labels the youths as “gang members”, when many do not relate to being in a gang. Secondly, a motivating factor for many of the youths engaging with CIRV is the belief that it will result in a job, which is not always possible. In conclusion, while CIRV is seen as having a significant impact on levels of youth violence in Glasgow, there are a number of issues that need to be addressed on an on-going basis to ensure the initiative continues to help these young people in the most beneficial way, and that they are fully informed of the realistic outcomes of their engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2011
EventAPHA Annual Meeting and Exposition - Washington, United States
Duration: 29 Oct 20113 Nov 2011


ConferenceAPHA Annual Meeting and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Youth Violence, Ethics


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