In response to the increasing need for effective responses to both youth-specific violence, as well as to violence in general, the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention will be hosting an International Youth Violence Prevention Conference in Tanzania, in November 2012.
It is increasingly recognized that young people are central to issues of crime and violence. While research, policy and programming have historically focused on children and adults, there is a growing emphasis on youth as both victims and perpetrators of violence. Emerging data shows that young people suffer much higher levels of victimization than adults. They are also often the perpetrators of violence against other youth and the population as whole. The issue of violence against and by youth is receiving growing attention in the media, and it is increasingly acknowledged that there will be a grave cost to country governments and to society if youth issues are not addressed.
The drivers of crime are varied and complex, but the models of behaviour to which young people are exposed and the levels of care and support they receive play a key role. In many instances, young people’s engagement in violent behavior is a product of the failure of existing policy to cater the developmental needs of parents, children and youth. Extensive research shows that violence is for many young people across the region a part of life; it is a feature of their homes, schools and communities, and has become an accepted component of young people’s social interactions. Many of the accepted drivers are compounded by shortfalls in childcare, afterschool care and recreation, which could otherwise help to steer children toward more pro-social modes of behaviour; parenting practices that promote violence; and young peoples’ limited opportunities for personal growth.
Addressing crime and violence amongst both children and youth requires a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach. It requires not only engaging young people, but also parents, teachers, principals and other thought-leaders in creating environments that provide youth with non-violent models of behaviour. It also requires viewing young people holistically and broadening interventions to help them to explore and develop personally.
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VIEW THE 2012 CONFERENCE PROGRAMME
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