University psychologists lead discussion on youth violence

School, community and social care representatives will discuss growing concern over gangs and youth violence at a conference in July organised by psychologists at the University of Kent.

Speakers will include Sammy Woodhouse, one of the victims of the Rotherham child abuse scandal, and Dr Jane Wood, an expert in gangs at the School of Psychology.

The conference, organised in conjunction with Kent Educational Psychology Service, will consider current research from Dr Wood on why young people get drawn into being involved in gangs, as well as exploring practical strategies to support this ‘at risk’ group.

Dr Wood explained that recent estimates put the number of young people aged 10-18 nationwide who are members of gangs at more than 45,000. Many join gangs after being coerced and exploited, she said.

The conference, entitled Gangs, Schools and Community: Psychology, Research and Practice takes place on 11 July at Darwin College at the University’s Canterbury campus.