South Yorkshire Police are backing the launch of a new helpline for parents concerns about children joining street gangs.
New research by the NSPCC has shown as many as one in six teenagers aged between 13 and 15 knows someone in a street gang.
Funding and support from the Home Office has allowed the charity to launch a new initiative to help identify whether the behaviour the caller is concerned about indicates that a young person is involved in a gang.
John Cameron, NSPCC Head of Child Protection Operations, said: “Young people involved in gangs are frequently abused, exploited and put in dangerous situations.
“We know from listening to children that they are often terrified of what they are doing and want to leave gangs and we believe adults have an incredibly important role to play in helping them to break free.
“Parents, carers and other adults often struggle to know where to turn when faced with a young person who they think might be involved in a gang. This is exactly why we are extending our 24/7, anonymous helpline.”
Detective Chief Inspector Zaf Ali said: “We strongly support the work if the NSPCC and are pleased to work with families to support and prevent young people from being involved in gangs.”
n The NSPCC’s helpline is open 24/7 on 0808 800 5000 and can be rung anonymously.