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Itaca Project

Final Report

The ITACA Project has issued its final report: ‘Interaction of Different Subjects Towards a Strategic Common Answer Concerning Juvenile Gangs’

Each participant country has undertaken a national analysis of the juvenile gangs phenomenon, in order to create a multinational picture, making it possible to understand this phenomenon and to identify key elements and recommendations for putting into place/creating practices and actions aimed at treatment and prevention.

The report offers each country’s analysis, conclusions and recommendations, leading to a comparison of practices at a European level.

Finally, the report summarizes its findings in a list of common recommendations.

ITACA Partnership Recommendations

1. Definition

1.1. Establish an agreed definition of youth gangs to enable a clear focus for future policy development, research programmes and intervention strategies

2. Policy and Funding

2.1. Ensure the underlying causes of youth gang violence are understood and are the basis of all research and intervention programs

2.2. Juvenile gangs should be viewed predominantly within a social framework rather than exclusively as representing a problem of juvenile deliquency

2.3. Develop systemic and coherent frameworks across all areas of social and criminal justice policy to address the issues pertinent to youth gangs

2.4. Develop more consistent instruments for the collection and collation of statistical data

2.5. Allocate specific budget funding for gang related research and intervention programmes

2.6. Ensure funding streams are stable and long term

3. Research

3.1. Develop co-ordinated research programmes on the phenomenon of youth gangs and ensure methodologies include the perspective of young gang members

4. Interventions – (preventative and secondary)

4.1. Ensure the planning and delivery of intervention programmes are multi-agency and involve both public and non-governmental agencies

4.2. Intervention programs should be therapeutic and non-punitive in approach, local and community rather than national and institutionally based and adopt a restorative perspective

4.3. Intervention programs should be long-term

4.4. Programs should include early intervention strategies with good assessment methodologies and also provide long –term support to young people as part of exit strategy planning

4.5. Young people should receive support during transition periods, especially those coming out of custodial institutions

4.6. Promote periodical training for justice and social workers as well as other key-agents involved with juvenile gang members (e.g., police forces)

5. Role of Media

5.1. Improve media coverage and communication links between agencies and media. Improve working together to promote youth gang membership reduction programs

5.2. Encourage accurate media reporting to promote greater social awareness on the topic of youth gangs

5.3. Encourage more debate and cooperation between key stakeholders

5.4. Promote specific training for journalists on juvenile gangs