Youth at risk


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Prezentācija pasākuma "The 25th Baltic Criminological Seminar. The Challenge of Crime in the Globalized World" ietvaros Tallinā, 2012.gada 13.aprīlī

Presentation in seminar "The 25th Baltic Criminological Seminar. The Challenge of Crime in the Globalized World", 13 April 2012, Tallinn

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Youth at risk

  1. 1. Youth at risk: Achieving changethrough development of early intervention and diversion tools Ilona Kronberga Researcher, Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS
  2. 2. Youth, children, or minors?It is generally believed that the separation of those concepts plays an important role in crime prevention, but in reality it only makes sense when we think about responsibility and the punishment. If we think about prevention, these concepts blend into one – this is just a person whom we must help to grow up. Our own future is highly dependent on our ability to carry out this task .
  3. 3. If our aim is to keep young people away from harm caused by crime –prevention is related to all groups of young people! Child, adolescent, minor, young adult
  4. 4. The relationships among concepts:
  5. 5. What does it mean – Youth at risk?«80.Young people who live in difficult circumstances are often at risk of becoming delinquent. Poverty, dysfunctional families, substance abuse and the death of family members have been demonstrated to be risk factors for becoming delinquent. Insecurity due to an unstable social environment increases vulnerability, and young people with poorly developed social skills are less able to protect themselves against the negative influences of a peer group.»United Nations World Youth Report (2005)
  6. 6. Actually we can add some new risks: Adults can influence processes If a child feels well in his family, there is no risk
  7. 7. Who are children in difficult or in risk situations? In fact…
  8. 8. How does all this link to prevention? (1)Prevention is a much broader concept than generally considered.Concept of childrens crime prevention is contained in childrens rights violation prevention concept.These observations work in both cases when a law is violated by a child (adolescent or young person) as well as when the rights of a child (adolescent or young person) are violated.
  9. 9. How does all this link to prevention? (2)In case when we face a situation in which we should punish the child, as well as in a situation when the child has become a victim or witness of crime, the result is equal – mechanisms of prevention have not worked.We have faced conditions that impedes a normal development of the child – in one case it is trauma, but in the other – punishment.
  10. 10. Which part of the children it is possible to reachnow with preventive mechanisms, but which is not available?
  11. 11. Description of the current situation in Latvia or why do we need to change anything?«The child should be blamed for the commission of the specific criminal offence, the state and the community should be held guilty for creating circumstances under which the child has decided to resolve his/her problems at the expense of the community in violation of criminal legal taboos.»Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS, Research, 2010“Restorative Justice in the Aspect of Juvenile Delinquency:Baltic States in European Dimension.”
  12. 12. Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on The prevention of juvenile delinquency. Ways of dealing with juvenile delinquency and the role of the juvenile justice system in the European UnionJuvenile delinquency is currently an aspect of crimecausing growing concern in European societies and has, since the last century, been under continuous scrutiny on an international scale. It should however be pointed out that young peoplesbehaviour often has a greater impact than that of adults, especially if it is negative, thus promptingsociety to take a particularly adverse view of young offenders. It is also useful to note that in many cases the victims of juvenile delinquency are young people themselves.
  13. 13. Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on The prevention of juvenile delinquency. Ways of dealing with juvenile delinquency and the role of the juvenile justice system in the European UnionAs a result, the importance that European society attaches to juvenile delinquency means that effective responses must be found, which will have to be built principally on a three-fold foundation:• prevention,• punitive-educational measures, and• the social integration or re-integration of minors and young offenders.
  14. 14. There are many different reasons or circumstances that can prompt a minor to commit a crime:• A broken home, or even difficulty in balancing family life and work, both of which increasingly often result in a lack of attention and an absence of constraints and control for children.• Socio-economic marginalisation or poverty, which also makes it difficult for the minor to integrate properly into society.
  15. 15. Why do children commit crimes: (1)• Truancy and academic failure: at school, this already leads to labelling or social stigmatisation, which often paves the way for antisocial behaviour or delinquency.• Unemployment, which is at its highest among young people and often leads to situations of frustration and despair, creating a breeding ground for delinquent behaviour.•
  16. 16. Why do children commit crimes: (2)• The broadcasting of violent images and attitudes by certain programmes via some media, or videogames for minors, which helps to create a system of values among young people in which violence is seen as acceptable behaviour.•
  17. 17. Why do children commit crimes: (3)• Abuse of alcohol, drugs and toxic substances which often causes the addict to commit crimes in order to support his/her addiction.• Personality and behaviour disorders, either in association with or independently of the factor outlined in the previous point.
  18. 18. Why do children commit crimes: (4)• Shortcomings in the teaching and passing on of social and civic values — such as obeying rules, solidarity, generosity, tolerance, respect for others, critical self-awareness, empathy, high standards of work, etc., which are being replaced in our "globalised" societies by more utilitarian values like individualism, competitiveness or hyper-consumption — which in certain circumstances can generate a degree of detachment from society.
  19. 19. Children and Justice – an insight into Latvian law
  20. 20. Juvenile Justice instruments in Latvia are currently fragmented:«National systems of law are at various development levels – in some countries due to the rapid development of Juvenile Justice has, in actual fact, become an alternative to the traditional criminal justice (a), in some countries it has been positioned as a sub-branch within the frame of criminal justice (b), while in some countries, including Latvia, it is understood only as a set of some favourable peculiarities that is applicable to juvenile delinquents (c).»Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS, Research, 2010“Restorative Justice in the Aspect of Juvenile Delinquency:Baltic States in European Dimension.”
  21. 21. Reaction to offences committed by minors
  22. 22. Law On Application of Compulsory Measures of a Correctional Nature to Children...… is only one diversion tool from the traditional adult liability system which provide the following compulsory measures:1) to issue a warning;2) to impose a duty to apologise to the victims if they agree to meet with the guilty party;3) to place a child in the custody of parents or guardians, as well as other persons, authorities or organisations;4) to impose a duty to eliminate by his or her work the consequences of the harm caused;5) for a child who has reached the age of 15 and who has income – to impose a duty to reimburse the harm caused;6) to specify behaviour restrictions (to visit certain public areas...);7) to impose a duty to perform community services; or8) to place a child in an educational establishment for social correction.The problem is that with only few exceptions, this law is rarely applied.
  23. 23. Part I Conclusions:• Only by developing Juvenile Justice it is already likely to get effective tools of diversion;• Juvenile crime prevention grows from child protection policy;• To have success in children crime prevention we must understand that all age groups of children can be exposed to risk situations and related behavioural risks;• The greatest prevention should be done at the place where the child lives – from the birth to adulthood;• When the police must be involved, the major part of prevention possibilities is already lost;• Inclusion and mitigation of social exclusion is not a task which WE have to do for THEM, it is vital to our joint tomorrow;• To achieve effective prevention, every written law has to work.
  24. 24. ...and now I would ask you to(Back to slide 6)remember previously mentioned... ...almost none of the above mentioned reasons/risks do not apply to police jurisdiction!
  25. 25. Therefore the question is – who must be responsible for the children delinquency prevention?We had asked ourselves this question a couple of years ago
  26. 26. ...and now you will see what we have found out!Preventive measures with young people should be taken in each municipality before a law is violated or especially when a crime is committed but the situation actually turned out to be different:• in many cases in Latvian local municipalities social workers do nothing and wait for law enforcement agencies to get clients (minors) from them after the law violation fact.
  27. 27. Preventive measures with young people – problems and difficulties (1)In the Ombudsmans report on childrens rights in 2011 in Latvia it was indicated that: in 7 municipalities from 119 nobody does preventive work with children at risk and in risk situations (a); only in eight municipalities it is the responsibility of the Interinstitutional commission (b); in many cases the creation of Interinstitutional models was refused from local governors, even without going into these matters...
  28. 28. Preventive measures with young people – problems and difficulties (2)mainly this work has been done by the social workers who, at the same time, are responsible for all social issues – old people, disabled people, poor and large families etc. (c);in many cases, a municipality has only one social worker who is overloaded with responsibilities (d);there are cases when the preventive work is a responsibility of officials who do not have any knowledge and skills (e).
  29. 29. Taking into account all the above mentionedfor the second year in Latvia the Interinstitutional method of early intervention for prevention of juvenile delinquency has been approbated.What is the Interinstitutional method – It is a childrens rights protecting (including child delinquency prevention) method, which is suitable for use in the place where the child lives – local municipality.
  30. 30. Interinstitutional cooperation methodis a professional cooperation among different institutions particularly to improve the childs living environment
  31. 31. Interinstitutional cooperation methodIn the municipalities in which we are introducing the new method, Inter-Inst working groups meet once every 2 weeks;It consists of professionals who are working in the local area with and for children;Specialists in this collaboration gain greater capacity for their professional duties and peer support;Particularly, it is important to manage the consequences of economic crisis, when everyone feels the lack of resources, especially professionals working in rural areas.
  32. 32. Each working group:• is attended by all local law enforcement, education and other professionals who are working with or for children;• examines all known issues on children with behavioural risks;• defines the risks, identifies children and their parents who will be invited to the next meeting;• in cooperation with parents identifies childrens needs and develop childrens behavioural programme.
  33. 33. Childrens behavioural programme (1)
  34. 34. Childrens behavioural programme (2)If we say: «That is not the best way how to behave,» we must have something to offer. A programme to replace wrong behaviour.For this reason, local governments have established the catalog of meaningful activities for youth.Using this activity book, a behavioural programme for the next 8 months is created ​ for every young person. For each minor the task description is given. Minors should report on each performed task and this is evidenced by the activities teachers signature in his or her diary.
  35. 35. Childrens behavioral program (3)When the program is finished childrens needs and risks are re-evaluated.Thus, parents, teachers and childrens affairs professionals have the opportunity to judge any further work with these children.(from 33). To new program • Needs and risks assessment • Next decisions Back to normal life
  36. 36. Childrens behavioral program (4)Implementation of such a program in the municipality requires to set up and develop certain instruments - keywords: Risk and Catalogue of Inter-Inst need useful Working Assesment activities Groups System The Program Cooperation management Framework and control for local system professionals
  37. 37. Part II Conclusions:• Delinquency prevention is not a task that can be distributed among the institutions. This must be done using a multidisciplinary approach;• Prevention efforts need to be done in place where child / adolescent / young person / juvenile living in;• In each municipality need to be established childrens behavioral program, which includes all above mentioned tools.
  38. 38. Many thanks for your attention! For additional information, please visit & Twitter: @providus & @politikalv Pinterest: Slideshare: