Strengthening youth resilience to crime

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development envisions bringing benefits to all people, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized. In terms of Member States efforts to provide safety and security to all, special attention must be paid to children and youth as they are particularly vulnerable to drug use, crime and victimization, including gang-related crime, violent extremism and sexual exploitation. In efforts to prevent delinquent behavior among young people experts point to the effectiveness of developmental or early prevention. This means investing in the healthy development of children and young people, and to mobilize individuals, families, schools or communities to address the conditions that give rise to antisocial behaviour and crime before they appear.  Developmental prevention initiatives typically target different levels of the ecology of human development and focus, for example, on parenting and early child support, anti-bullying initiatives, or individual and social skills training.

Although youth face many challenges that make them particularly vulnerable to crime, violence and victimization, it is important to remember that, by virtue of their age, energies and learning abilities, young people are key agents of change in creating a better future and have great potential to advocate on behalf of themselves and their communities. Carefully targeted projects which actively involve youth, especially those living in the most vulnerable communities, in decision making, education and skills training (including through sports), entrepreneurship and job creation, can build resilience by providing youth with alternative lifestyles to drug and gang involvement.

In its resolution of July 2016 on mainstreaming holistic approaches in youth crime prevention, the Economic and Social Council emphasised the importance of a multi-sectoral approach to the prevention of youth crime, and the development of prevention policies that meet the varying needs of young persons and safeguard their well-being. Central to such efforts is cooperation and coordination of efforts between all levels of government and relevant stakeholders within civil society to strengthen and sustain effective crime prevention strategies, programmes and initiatives.

General Assembly resolution 70/174 endorsed the „Doha Declaration“, adopted at the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, stresses the fundamental role of youth participation in crime prevention efforts and calls for innovative approaches to address the impact of gang-related violence on specific populations and places.

Our Work

UNODC has recently placed more emphasis on addressing youth crime in its efforts to support the implementation of the “Doha Declaration“. More specifically, the Office:

  • Supports the development of youth crime prevention strategies and action plans
  • Promotes the use of evidence-based youth crime prevention programmes and best practice, in particular in the area of developmental prevention
  • Encourages locally-based initiatives to help young people at risk of offending or re-offending and strengthen their resilience to crime, including through education and social and individual skills training and the use of sport and sport-based learning.



Recent CCPCJ/GA resolutions:

UN Youth Strategy 2030


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