In December 2009, the European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) Conference took place in Stockholm, under the title Preventing Crime and Victimisation among Children and
Young People. Current and future challenges – school, cyberspace and recruitment to criminal groups.
The event brought together about 200 policy-makers, practitioners and researchers from 24 Member States, candidate countries, EU bodies and organisations.
The aim of the conference was twofold: to provide a platform for networking for those active in the field in the EU and to share knowledge and experience.
- Preventive approaches should pay specific attention to the actors and circumstances that influence the risks of crime and victimisation among children and young people, as well as to the actors that could potentially prevent crime and victimisation.
- The established, research-based, knowledge on early risks and protective factors should be used systematically in the design and delivery of preventive strategies and measures.
- Preventive approaches should acknowledge the need for early intervention for a limited number of high-risk children, to prevent the onset of severe, long-term criminal careers and victimisation at individual level.
- Preventive approaches should address the wider group of lower-risk children and youth in order to also prevent less severe and shorter-term experiences of crime and victimisation.
- The views and experiences of children and young people themselves should be taken into consideration when designing and delivering preventive approaches and measures, in order to
ensure that they are attractive to them.
- Preventing children and young people from experiencing crime and victimisation has significant short and long-term economic benefits.
- Attention should be paid to research findings showing that children and young people who demonstrate early signs of various behavioural problems and who become involved in crime and drug misuse at young ages run a relatively high risk of developing persistent criminality, which may include involvement in criminal groups.
- Note should be taken of well-established research findings showing that early parent- and family based interventions can successfully reduce present and future behavioural problems, including delinquency and more serious crime.
- Note should be taken of the research findings concluding that harsh deterrence-based responses have not shown themselves to be effective in reducing youth criminality, and that ‘scared-straight’ approaches may increase the risk of continued delinquency.
- The need, in extreme cases, to institutionalise children and young people who may present a danger to themselves and others must be balanced against the apparent risks of negative side effects. There is evidence that provision of treatment may be less effective inside than outside institutions.