This report from the Australian Institute of Criminology examined gang members' perceptions on their relationships with community authority structures and family support mechanisms in a rural Indigenous community in the Northern Territory.
This study examined gang members' perceptions on their relationships with community authority structures and family support mechanisms to determine whether the perceptions of gang members were any different than those of non-gang members in a rural Indigenous community in Australia's Northern Territory. The study found no significant differences between gang members and non-gang members in terms of their views on the importance of family and friends, and no significant difference between gang members and non-gang members in terms of the importance of and respect for family members and elders. Additional factors that were important to gang members were culture, country, territory, and a sense of obligation to the gang. Data for this study were obtained from surveys with imprisoned gang members, young people unaffiliated with gangs, and field workers and local community members. Survey respondents completed a questionnaire seeking information on who the most important people were to the respondents, who they turned to for advice and support, and who they respected. Demographic information was also obtained from survey respondents. The survey results suggest that in this rural community, gang membership did not appear to be linked to the weakening of conventional family bonds, as had been found in other studies on the effects of gang membership. This finding may be due to the importance of family to Indigenous youth. Implications for youth justice policies are discussed. Tables and references
Australian Institute of Criminology
GPO Box 2944, Canberra ACT, 2601 Australia, Australia
Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice No. 457, July 2013