Portrait of Dr Tara Young

Dr Tara Young

Lecturer in Criminal Justice and Criminology


Dr Tara Young joined the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research in September 2016, having worked at London Metropolitan University from 2004. Before joining LondonMet, Dr Young was employed as Senior Research Officer at the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Dr Young graduated from the University of Bristol West of England with a First Class degree BSc (Hons) in Sociology. She has an MSc in Criminology from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a PhD Criminology (by prior output) from London Metropolitan University. 

Research interests

Dr Young has over 15 years’ experience in developing and managing research projects and specialises in social research with ‘hard to reach’ and ‘vulnerable groups’. 

The central focus of her research is on marginalised young people as perpetrators and victims of anti-social behaviour and violent crime. She is interested in the manifestation of the ‘gang’ as a social problem in the UK in the context of an increasingly punitive statutory response to youth crime, and how gang-associated girls and young women formulate their identity, exercise control and power, and avoid victimisation.

Dr Young has also conducted research on mentoring as a strategy for ‘at risk’ young people, crime displacement, sexual violence (including multiple perpetrator rape) and domestic violence. 

Currently, Dr Young is Co-Investigator on an ESRC - funded project (with Dr Susie Hulley at Cambridge University - ES/POO1378/1) examining friendship, violence and legal consciousness within the context of Joint Enterprise.  


Dr Young convenes modules on criminology and criminal justice programme.


Dr Young welcomes PhD proposals in her area of interest. If you wish to study at the University of Kent please email her to discuss further.




  • Young, T., Fitzgibbon, W. and Silverstone, D. (2014). A Question of Family: Youth and Gangs. Youth Justice [Online] 14:171-185. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1473225414537569.
    The role of the family as a key factor in encouraging gang membership and criminality is hotly debated. Recent political rhetoric in the UK has highlighted the correlation between ‘troubled families’ and the rise in youth crime and gang-related violence. This article is concerned with exploring the role of the family in the formation of gangs, gang-related criminality and desistance. The overall aim of the article is to review the research literature. It posits that the evidence that connects the family to ‘gang’ membership is far from conclusive and argues that the aetiology of gang formation and criminality cannot simply be reduced to poor home environments or ‘broken’ families.
  • Young, T. (2009). Girls and Gangs: ‘Shemale’ Gangsters in the UK?. Youth Justice [Online] 9:224-238. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1473225409345101.
  • Hallsworth, S. and Young, T. (2008). Gang Talk and Gang Talkers: A Critique. Crime Media Culture [Online] 4:175-195. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1741659008092327.
  • Hallsworth, S. and Young, T. (2008). ’Death and life are in the power of the tongue’. Theoretical Criminology [Online] 12:131-152. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1362480608089237.
  • Hallsworth, S. and Young, T. (2005). On Gangs and Guns: a Crtitque. ChildRIGHT:14-16.
    Asks if media coverage given to young people in gangs is justified and whether the United Kingdom experience can be compared with America. Reports that despite media headlines, statistics from the 'British Crime Survey' show that crime committed by people aged 16 and over has fallen. Argues that social factors have contributed to the American situation. Concludes that fears about gun crime and young people in the UK are unjustified although there are lessons to be learnt from the American experience.
  • Hallsworth, S. and Young, T. (2004). Getting Real About Gangs. Criminal Justice Matters [Online] 55:12-13. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09627250408553587.


  • Isaacs, S., Blundell, D., Foley, A., Ginsburg, N., McDonough, B., Silverstone, D. and Young, T. (2014). Social Problems in the UK: An Introduction. Routledge.
  • Newburn, T., Shiner, M. and Young, T. (2005). Dealing With Disaffection: Young People, Mentoring and Social Inclusion. Willan Publishing.

Book section

  • Young, T. and Trickett, L. (2017). Gang Girls: Agency, Sexual Identity and Victimisation ‘On Road’. In: Worley, M., Gildart, K., Gough-Yates, A., Lincoln, S., Osgerby, B., Robinson, L., Street, J. and Webb, P. eds. Youth Culture and Social Change: Making a Difference by Making a Noise. Springer, pp. 231-259. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-52911-4_10.
  • Young, T. and Trickett, L. (2017). Gang Girls: Agency, Sexual Identity and Victimisation ‘On Road’. In: Youth Culture and Social Change: Making a Difference by Making a Noise. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 231-259. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-52911-4.
    This chapter explores the experience of girls and young women involved in gang life. By drawing upon the testimony of gang-associated young people we ask whether young women are able to exercise enough power to build a credible identity and avoid victimisation in a patriarchal subculture that favours and fosters the agency of young men and positions young women as subordinate. We argue that young women are subjected to restrictions when attempting to build a credible identity, which puts them at risk of sexual violence. We suggest that some girls are in a no-win situation and end up ‘getting played’.
  • Young, T. (2011). In Search of the Shemale Gangster. In: Youth in Crisis? Gangs, Territoriality and Violence. Routledge.
  • Young, T. and Hallsworth, S. (2010). ‘Young People, Gangs and Street-based Violence’. In: Children Behaving Badly? Exploring Peer Violence Between Children and Young People. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Hallsworth, S. and Young, T. (2010). Street Collectives and Group Delinquency: Social Disorganisation, Subcultures, and Beyond. In: The SAGE Handbook of Criminological Theory. Sage.
  • Hallsworth, S. and Young, T. (2009). Confronting Youth Groups and Group Delinquency. In: Geldard, K. ed. Practical Interventions for Young People at Risk. Sage.

Confidential report

  • Young, T. and Choudary, N. (2014). The Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Females by Gang-Affiliated Youth in Enfield. Enfield Community Safety Unit.
  • Young, T., Kelly, L., Lee, K. and Coy, M. (2011). Domestic Violence, Ethnicity and Prosecution Outcomes: Exploring Differences. Crown Prosecution Service. Crown Prosecution Service.

Research report (external)

  • Young, T., Fitzgibbon, W. and Silverstone, D. (2013). The Role of the Family in Facilitating Gang Membership, Criminality and Exit. [Online]. Catch 22 Publication. Available at: http://www.yjb.gov.uk/publications/Resources/Downloads/Gangs%20Guns%20and%20Weapons%20Summary.pdf.
  • Hallsworth, S. and Young, T. (2011). On Gangs and Race: A Rejoinder to Joseph and Gunter. [Online]. Runnymede Trust. Available at: http://www.runnymedetrust.org/uploads/publications/pdfs/GangsRevisited(online)-2011.pdf.
  • Young, T. and Hallsworth, S. (2010). Establishing the Reality of Gangs in Brent : A Report for Brent Community Safety Partnership. Brent Community Safety Partnership.
  • Young, T. and Hallsworth, S. (2009). Improving Life Opportunities for Young People in Enfield. [Online]. Enfield Scrutiny Commission. Available at: http://governance.enfield.gov.uk/documents/s15776/Improving%20Life%20Opportunities%20for%20Young%20People%20in%20Enfield.pdf.
  • Young, T., Fitzgerald, M., Hallsworth, S. and Joseph, I. (2007). Groups, Gangs and Weapons: A Report for the Youth Justice Board of England and Wales. [Online]. Youth Justice Board of England and Wales. Available at: https://web.archive.org/web/20110601234645/http://www.yjb.gov.uk/Publications/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=341&eP=.
  • Young, T., Hallsworth, S., Jackson, E. and Lindsey, J. (2006). Crime Displacement in Kings Cross: A Report for Camden Community Safety Partnership. Camden Community Safety Partnership.
  • Young, T. (2006). Ealing: A Borough Profile: A Crime and Community Safety Report for Ealing Metropolitan Police Service and Specialist Crime Directorate. Specialist Crime Directorate.
  • Hallsworth, S. and Young, T. (2005). Urban Collectives: Gangs and Other Delinquent Groups. Metropolitan Police Service and Government Office for London.
  • Shiner, M., Young, T., Newburn, T. and Groben, S. (2004). Mentoring Disaffected Young People: An Evaluation of Mentoring Plus. [Online]. Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Available at: http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/mentoring-disaffected-young-people-evaluation-mentoring-plus.
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