Having a sense of being different makes it difficult to belong. Good afternoon fellow Melbourne City Counsel members I will be presenting my opening statement about girls involved in gang activities in regards to the National Crime Prevention Counsel I’m apart of. My name is Christina and I have worked with many organizations in the past to educate and help the community gain understanding and awareness of the recent dangerous and risky behavior taking place between girls as young as 12 years of age which as I’m sure you know is becoming a growing problem within society.
According to NEWS Bureau of Crime Statistic Data, the number of Juvenile female offenders has increased by 36% in the last decade, compared to an 8% increase for Juvenile males. 75 % of runaways are females which leads to girls aged 12-18 becoming at risk of being homeless. These shocking statistics are the reason my aim is not only to provide awareness but also to consider solutions or ideas to implement as a counsel. Theft, underage drinking, violence and gang activity has resulted in teens across Australia to personally victimize individuals within the community.
Factors that have influenced the way hose girls are behaving include peer pressure, family conflict, masking their true identity and creating more interesting personae of themselves, which could easily be a defense mechanism to belong within a group or to be a member of something. Girls are acting out and developing these new identities usually because of something horrific that has happened in their lives. They are victims; we should not judge somebody actions before getting to the source of the problem. These girls have had influences and have been raised differently to your average teenager.
They ay never have been taught right from wrong or understood basic human morals since usually they have an absence of role models in their lives. They also may never have felt as though they belonged with their family members especially if the parent’s they are currently living with are not their own. Abandonment is something teenagers fear the most, to feel as if nobody is there for them and that nobody cares what happens to them may cause these girls to stop caring and to mask the fear they are feeling with distractions like violence, drugs and alcohol.
Back in 2011 Alley and Jamie let the public into their lives by speaking about their taxation. The background of the girls explained why they were behaving recklessly. Alley spoke about how she had grown up on a public housing estate with seventeen siblings. Alley has been in and out of Juvenile detention centre. When she was asked about the detention centre she described it as ‘A bucking paradise’ and admitted to participating in these crimes to get back into their centre.
Although Alley had numerous siblings, she still felt as if she didn’t belong and had not yet met somebody who could completely understand her. Alley met Jamie who happened to be a cousin she had no knowledge existed. They quickly became close and together they Joined to take part in these ruthless activities. Joining with her cousin helped Alley to tell as though she mattered to somebody. Jamie on the other hand, clarified she was thirteen years of age when she was in care of an aunt, where she was forced to shoplift.
She had run away from her aunt and lived with an uncle for three weeks before he was arrested and Jailed for drug abuse. Jamie was then placed in a foster family, which lasted for three days before running away to another relative who again demented that she steal. The moving had left psychological damage to Jamie and made her question where she really belonged and who she belonged with. Alley and Jasmine’s problems within themselves are from various types of neglect. The problem these teenagers often face is homelessness.
Being able to have a place to call home is important in adolescence not only for a sense of direction but also to feel part of a family union and to feel love. If these girls are getting abused at home and experiencing ghastly experiences like incest or having parent’s addicted to crack, then home becomes a place that these teens would rather not go to. They have realized in their minds that running away, forming gangs and abusing drugs is often better for them then being abused at home.
Parent’s can literally make or break a child. Recently a fifteen year old, lets call her Jodie moved back in with her mother and stepfather after they passed all safety checks with the Department of Community Service only to discover that they had established an unlicensed brothel in the home and expected the daughter to service clients. The fifteen year old did not want the life she lives but unfortunately it was out of her control. We can only control so much f our lives, we cannot control or change who our parent’s are.
The violent and illegal behaviors these girls take a part in is often due to poor parenting and feeling as though forming gangs with people you have experiences in common with will help them feel a part of something and feel as though they belong within a group which they may never have felt at home before. We cannot as allow ourselves to Judge the actions of these girls when they have experienced more in their twelve to eighteen years of life then some do in a lifetime. As a community we need to understand that people in these circumstances are citing out because in reality they are scared.
Placing them into these detention centre will only encourage them to keep committing crimes to gain a spot back into the centre. We as a community should be alarmed that these young girls already expect to either go to Jail or encounter teen pregnancy in their future. Taking drastic action is necessary to ensure that the girls get help and have somebody to listen to, they are lacking in a sense of belonging. The persona they are creating for themselves looks tough, threatening and rough on the outside but inside they must be feeling anything but tough. Remember they are only kids.
I am by no meaner saying this behavior should be tolerated but I do believe in not coming to a conclusion to punish but rather to look a little deeper into the real issues and help by implementing solutions and ideas that could help save the lives of young people within our community. Try to recall what your teenage years were like and what friends and family you had by your side. Could you imagine your life without them? It is a natural desire to want love, support and affection and when we don’t receive these essentials we start to lose ourselves. Please do not hesitate to ask any , ones.