How can I stay safe?

How to resist joining a gang?

To be part of a group that gets involved in risky and illegal behaviours (such as theft, burning of rubbish bins or graffiti on bus stops) may seem appealing, due to the adrenaline rush, the (false) sensation of power over others and that we are untouchable … but we are not!

Have a look at What are the consequences? and you will soon realise that the (apparent) advantages of being part of such groups lose weight and importance.


If you are being pressured to be part of a violent group, there are strategies you can use to protect yourself:
  • Say No (search on How to resist peer pressure?).
  • Distance yourself from that group. If someone contacts you, don’t pick up, don’t reply to messages. Soon they will give up.
  • Get closer to friends you trust. Spend more time with them. When you have to go out, stay with these friends. Thus, even if someone from the other group sees you, they will not feel it so easy to approach you.
  • Talk to a trusted adult, particularly if someone has threatened to harm you or has done something to frighten or hurt you. It is important that adults know what is going on so that they are able to help and protect you.


No one has the right to force you to do something you do not want to, that you feel uncomfortable with or that you think is dangerous. Not even your friends have that right.


Being part of a violent group or gang and wanting to get out is a courageous and difficult decision to take:

gang e violência de grupo  
• it is normal to feel frightened to leave the group and to be afraid of being alone after that;
• we might be afraid that when leaving the group we may not have other friends to be with;
• the group may have threatened or attacked us (or done that to someone else who has tried to leave);
• we like the group (or at least some of the members) and do not want to lose their friendship or disappoint them.


If you are part of such a group, but you want to leave it, it is very important to speak with someone you trust (and who is not part of the group):

  • with a friend (to get things off your chest and share your concerns and fears);
  • with your parents or another family member;
  • with a teacher, or other member of school staff.