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May: gangs use rape as a weapon

Girls are being raped and tortured as turf wars between gangs escalate into sexual violence, the Home Secretary Theresa May has warned.

Setting out fresh moves to tackle growing gang activity in some inner cities, Ms May said young women were getting caught up in the clashes among rival groups of youths.

She said some girls were involved in gang violence, but added: "More often they would be the victims. They would be the partners of gang members. They would find themselves being... used as weapons – raping a rival gang leader's girlfriend to get back at that gang."

She said the Government was setting aside £1.2m to support girls who become victims of feuds between gangs. Ms May also announced moves to rehouse former gang members trying to start new lives and to place youth workers in hospital emergency departments to spot youngsters with knife and gun wounds.

She promised to extend "gang injunctions", under which members can be banned from entering rivals' territory or wearing their organisation's "colours", to cover children aged 14 to 17.