Helpline launched for parents worried about gangs

image captionThe helpline is for parents worried about their children being in gangs

A helpline has been launched for parents worried that their children are becoming involved in gangs.

Funded by a £30,000 investment from the Scottish government, it aims to ensure that adults have access to specialist advise about their concerns.

It will be operated by the charity Children 1st, as part of its Parentline Scotland service.

The year long trial is being run in partnership with the police's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).

Det Chf Superintendent John Carnochan, head of the VRU, said: "The issue for us has always been not gangs but what the gang does when it comes together.

"A gang is basically a group of people coming together for a common purpose - if that is playing football, that's fine, but if they are committing acts of violence, then that's a serious issue.

"The word "gang" is weighted with so many associations, and it can be difficult for parents to determine whether the group their child is hanging around with is a problem or not.

He added: "It is reassuring to know there is someone there to talk to who will listen and understand."

Launching the new helpline in Glasgow, Alison Todd from Children 1st, said: "We know from the calls we get that a lot of parents are worried that their child's friends may be having a negative influence on them and also that some may be involved in gangs.

"In many cases those fears are unfounded, but that doesn't stop them worrying.

"Our helpline will give parents from across Scotland the chance to talk to someone about how they're feeling and to offer them reassurance and guidance if a problem does arise."

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