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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 203322 Find in a Library
Title: Girls in Gangs: Biographies and Culture of Female Gang Associates in New Zealand
Journal: Journal of Gang Research  Volume:11  Issue:1  Dated:Fall 2003  Pages:33-53
Author(s): Greg Newbold; Glennis Dennehy
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 21
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This 2000 study of women in gangs in New Zealand addressed why some women join gangs, the attractions of gangs and their members, women's role in gangs and how they perceive their role, how gang structure and culture impacts women, and why women accept their status in gangs.
Abstract: The study involved face-to-face interviews with 10 women involved in 7 well-known New Zealand gangs. Less extensive interviews were conducted with other female gang associates and male former and current gang members. The information in this article is a combination of the data obtained from the interviews and from the published gang literature available in New Zealand. For half of the women interviewed, violence, often extreme, was a significant component of their early lives. Parental alcohol abuse was an ongoing feature for 6 of the 10 women. Half had experienced childhood sexual abuse. Out of a need for protection, nine of the women sought out powerful men they believed could protect them, which made the women candidates for gang-type associations. In addition to protection, gangs offered the women a surrogate family. Over time in the gangs, however, the women found that their relationships often became abusive, and they were denied status or even membership in the gang. As long as women stayed in the gang, there were no outside sources of help sought in community-service or law-enforcement institutions, so they tended to become subservient and compliant within gang interactions in order to avoid abuse from the male gang members. Some of the women believed they deserved the abuse they suffered and that the degradation was a true reflection of their worth. Overall, the impact of gang life on women was to further isolate them from nurturing and positive relationships until the barriers to leaving the gang became difficult to surmount. 61 references
Main Term(s): Female gangs
Index Term(s): Child abuse as delinquency factor; Child Sexual Abuse; Female deviance; Foreign criminal justice research; New Zealand
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