The Commission on Youth Violence in England and Wales identify six key areas of intervention

Youth Violence Comission - Interim Report July 2018This commission’s provisional report (pending the definitive one that will be seen in autumn) prepared based on the results of the commission’s work until now (which includes surveys, interviews with young people who were affected, parents, police officers, social workers, community leaders and other experts) focuses on six key areas of intervention in order to address the causes underlying the use of violence by youths[1]. These are the following:

  1. Develop a national model of public healthcare. They ratify the principles followed in Scotland where the treatment of youth violence has been of an epidemiological nature (following the model of treatment of violence of the World Health Organisation). It is very important to point out that that this healthcare approach to the problem requires the whole system to integrate this cultural change and to have sufficient political consensus.
  2. It is necessary to focus on childhood years and on the earliest intervention possible. They have found evidence of the importance of childhood, sexual, emotional violence, abuse, neglect or growing up with parents addicted to drugs in the appearance of violent behaviour among youths and adolescents. Having lived or suffered violence during the first years of life makes them regard violence as something habitual and trivialise it (a not inconsiderable percentage of violent youths say they have felt unsafe at home).
  3. Reform the youth care service. This would involve the establishing of a national youth policy to serve as a framework, a review of the distribution of funds (an increase in the number of cases of childhood mental illnesses and disorderly behaviour has coincided with a reduction in finance made available for these services and too many projects have been financed on a short-term basis), such as fomenting interventions in religious groups. They believe that the so-called faith leaders (chaplains, clergymen, etc.) are in a position to make a positive contribution to the prevention of youth violence.
  4. Increase support for schools. It is necessary to try to reduce academic failure to zero. Students that are excluded from the educational system because of poor results show a much higher percentage of violent behaviour than those who complete their studies. They stress the relevance of reviewing how advice about curricular profiles is given to each child, about the teaching of sex-related issues and other related student habits and a better integration of a range of services to be found in schools (social workers, psychologists, etc.).
  5. Increase career opportunities. Schools should teach children skills and knowledge to gain them access to the labour market. Centres for the treatment of youths should increase the aspirations of youths and stop thinking that they can only aspire to poorly qualified jobs. An increase in learning resources available to young people would help them to break the cycle of unemployment that is frequently a family tradition.
  6. A stronger focus on community police strategies and a review of policies regarding the consumption of drugs. The report focuses on the questionnaire applied to young people showing that 46% of them would not turn to the police even if they were afraid of being the victims of a crime. It would be important for every centre of education to have a particular police officer as a point of reference for its students. It would also be necessary to bear in mind that young people that consume any kind of drug are much more prone to violent conduct.

[1] Vid. http://yvcommission.com/interim-report/

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