Integrated approach to juvenile crime - Antwerp, Belgium
A city directorate is trying to restore a sense of public safety in Antwerpso as to bring about a better dialogue between the city's various ethnic groupsand the public bodies concerned.
How do you avoid a fragmented youth policy?
In 1995 the Juvenile Violence department at Antwerp's city police force embarked on a scheme to come up with a uniform policy for tackling youth crime. A survey carried out by the department identified the following stumbling blocks:
- There was a lack of information about the way the various city authorities worked.
- Multiple agencies were working for the same target group.
- People were insufficiently aware of new initiatives or projects, which tended to be initiated in isolation from each other.
Antwerp's city directorate for young people at risk, VISIEr, was established in April 1998 to oversee the reform of youth policy in the city. VISIEr is a collaboration between general welfare work, special youth assistance, the integration sector, the youth sector, the ministry of Justice, the ministry of Education and the police.
VISIEr has set up an information centre for city agencies and civil society organisations. There is also an internal and an external communication structure. The various sectors enter into a collaborative agreement. The programme also looks at what is happening in this area at the local, national and European level. Disrupted contact with migrant youth is being restored through dialogues.
- A dialogue has been initiated with young people from ethnic minorities.
- The communication plan has been approved by the city's various agencies.
- A future scenario has been formulated for all projects that are part of the government's urban policy.
- Policy is coordinated between agencies.
Mr. Najib Chakouh
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