A new documentary is helping shed light on gangs and grooming in South London and the impact on young women and girls in the area.

GXNG GIRLS was made by Journalist Abbianca Makoni and explores issues surrounding trauma, abuse and grooming that has been linked to gangs in South London.

The clear and frequently hard-hitting documentary interviews girls and women directly affected by these issues, plus former gang members and youth workers in the region.

In doing so it shows how serious a problem gangs present to communities and young women in particular who can be 'groomed' or lured into becoming involved.

"I lost a friend of mine due to knife crime a while ago, and I think that moment I started looking into knife crime as a whole, violent crime and young people," Abbianca told the Croydon Guardian.

"One thing I noticed is that the experience of girls is not always there or it is there but not always in the limelight.

"Speaking with people for the documentary you realize that young girls are going through this but mothers also."

The journalist described speaking with a former gang member who told her about "the way some gangs mistreat or abuse the women, the way they chat to them like meat."

"It was quite shocking and disheartening but that is the reality of what was happening back in his time and, in his own words, what is still happening now," she added.

Indeed, violence and criminality in South London are in the public eye, not least after a recent weekend witnessed multiple stabbings and one fatality in Croydon.

Yet as Abbianca points out, the frequently different experiences of the young women involved are not always part of that narrative.

Among those interviewed in the film was Marcia Townsend, a psychodynamic therapist who works with young people in the area:

"It still stays with them, you have people that have been involved with things like that from a young age and then becoming an adult there is still some of that trauma still with them. Certain triggers can come up in their lives and their relationships.

"Oftentimes these things are not always presented, it is not recognized because they are afraid to talk about it, about who they can trust. It can be hard to escape from it sometimes.

"There is a lack of resources out there. There are one or two organizations out there who do provide services but it's not enough."

One possible solution would be real funding for a physical space "where people could go to and get help, and be there for a while rather than having to go back and forth.

"A place of safety where they will not get abused," Marcia reflected.

Youth Work Consultant Lydia Mangeni Stewart was also interviewed for Gxng Girls, and worked on just that: a safe space for women and girls who have been through trauma in the form of South London's Skye Alexandra House.

"This is a big issue in Croydon, being a very complex borough with the largest number of young people in London," she said, pointing out Croydon Council's recent declaration of de-facto bankruptcy as having a future impact on funding for services.

"Grassroots organizations like Skye Alexandra do need to be amplified, recognized and supported because they have the expertise from a personal perspective as well as being able to do the work that is needed on a one to one basis, that ability to work intensively to actually change these young people's lives," the former youth worker said.

"The funding landscape at the moment is dictating how we work with young people and it should be the other way around.

"People making these decisions are so far removed from the issues that they are deciding based on paperwork and theory and that is not good enough.

"That's why some of these issues are still very acute...you can't change what you don't know and don't see," she added.

Abbianca too agreed that a greater understanding and attention to the issue, with specifically gendered projects like Skye Alexandra House, would help.

"You don't always have to go to the big organizations that are always in the media.

"There are people in your local area who have initiatives that have really impacted what they have and if they were supported better and given more funding they could have a bigger impact," she said.

Watch Gxng Girls on Youtube here.