Skip over navigation
Donate

media

Dear Kids Help Phone

ok im in a gang. well the other day i got chased by a car that had people in it with guns.  also i like this girl that i hang around with and if walking with her and getting chased i dont want her to get hurt. i dont want to go to the police but i started to cut myself to get rid of pressure.  but i dont want to tell her about my gang or me cutting myself because i dont want her to hate me if she gets hurt.  what should i do???

thanks for the help..

also: ok i really want a tat that says a girl's name on it. i want it on my leg or shoulder but i dont know the dangers of tattoos. i have one of my gang's but i want a meanful one like example: kelly on it.


Today’s children face all kinds of challenges that threaten them, from peer pressure, to Internet dangers, to abuse at home. Well-researched clinical content on topics that have been chosen based on identified counsellor needs, needs of the youth who use our service, and emerging trends in youth culture, is available to kids at a click of the mouse. One such matter is Gangs.

Definition
As defined by Montreal Police Services, youth gangs are ”an organized group of adolescents and/or young adults who rely on group intimidation and violence and commit criminal acts in order to gain power and recognition and/or control certain areas of unlawful activity”.

Did You Know
Based on the 2002 Canadian Police Survey on Youth Gangs (still widely referred to as the key resource in the field), we know that:

  • Ontario has the largest number of youth gangs (216) and gang members (3,320), followed by Saskatchewan and BC.
  • 94% of Canadian youth gang members are male; female membership is on the rise in BC, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
  • 48% of youth gang members in Canada are younger than 18; 39% are between 16 and 18.

More recent statistics indicate that:

  • There are currently 11,000 street gang members in Canada.
  • Gun violence is more prevalent among street gangs that involve primarily young men under 30.  

(2006 Criminal Intelligence Service Canada Report)

Why Kids Join
Kids join gangs for a variety of complex and personal reasons such as the following:

  • Kids with a history of school and family problems tend to join gangs because they don’t have other legitimate groups to join.
  • Some kids join for the closeness, cohesion and acceptance offered by gangs. For some the gang acts as a surrogate family.
  • Some kids join for the power, status and a sense of excitement provided by the gang.
  • Others join to earn money or relieve boredom.
  • Some join to seek protection that they think the gang can offer.

What’s Next
Although young people are usually not forced to join gangs and can refuse to join without risk of consequences, exiting a gang is a very risky and long process; some gangs will kill any member trying to get out.

What To Do
Individual support for a young person involved in a gang may involve a number of different components, depending on each child’s unique needs. If you’re concerned about your child, the best thing to do is to talk to them and encourage him/her to talk to contact a Kids Help Phone counsellor. Kids Help Phone is totally confidential and anonymous and we’re open 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868 or online at kidshelpphone.ca.

But don’t take our word for it!
Youth gangs in Canada are a cancer that erodes the foundations of our communities. Gang prevention and intervention strategies are in demand in all our cities and rural areas.

Kids Help Phone is the most accessible and reliable resource available on the phone and online to help youth deal with all the emotional, family and social issues that lead youth to gang involvement.  

Kids Help Phone has worked with the leading experts in Canada to provide youth across the country with the information they need, when they need it, that allows them to make the right choices to avoid gang life and be productive members of our communities.

Kids Help Phone provides the opportunity for a youth experiencing gang life at any stage to receive the information they need on their path to freedom, opportunity and self respect.


Constable Scott Mills
Toronto Police Service
Crime Stoppers Youth Officer
President NoToGangs.org

 Get informed!
Access the
kid or teen tip sheets available on Kids Help Phone’s website. 

Access the article on Girls In Gangs written by Kids Help Phone and published in the April issue of the kid publication The Mag.

Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was someone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead. Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was someone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead. Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was someone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead. Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was someone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead. Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was someone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead. Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was someone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead. Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was someone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead. Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was someone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead.