Thursday, 9 February 2012

BBC News - £1.2m funding for girl gang member rape victims

£1.2m funding for girl gang member rape victims

A teenager wearing a hooded top Lynne Featherstone said violence against girls in gangs was a hidden issue

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The government has announced £1.2 million of funding to help girls involved with gangs who are raped by male members.

A network of people will support victims of sexual violence or exploitation or those at risk of becoming victims, the Home Office said.

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said the violence girls and young women in gangs experienced was shocking.

She said advocates would give specialised, expert and sensitive care.

'Hidden issue'

A network of 13 Young People's Advocates will work in areas most affected by gangs.

Ms Featherstone visited the Lilian Baylis Technology School in Kennington, south-west London, on Thursday, where pupils were learning about gangs and sexual violence.

She said: "It's quite clear that everyone would be entirely shocked by the level of violence girls and young women have to experience if they get involved with gangs and it has been a very hidden issue."

She said the government fund would create a support network which would share information and best practice to make inroads into the "horrific issue".

Det Allen Davis, of the Metropolitan Police, who was leading a session at the school, said girls are at the bottom of the hierarchy in a gang environment.

He said: "Girls need to know they are used and abused within gangs, that they are passed around and are second-class citizens.

"Ultimately girls are disposable, it's the boys that gain status and respect by putting in work and that means committing crime and hurting people.

"Girls get status in this [gang] world by who they have sex with and it makes them very vulnerable. The boys have the power to use and abuse them."

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