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Title: Youth and urban violence in San Salvador, Rio de Janeiro and Praia: public policies, community-based responses and recommendations
Authors: Afonso, Carla 
Cardoso, Katia 
Santos, Rita 
Roque, Sílvia 
Moura, Tatiana 
Issue Date: Feb-2012
Publisher: Initiative for Peacebuilding
Project: European Commission 
Serial title, monograph or event: Initiative for Peacebuilding
Place of publication or event: Brussels
Abstract: Overall, despite the differences between Rio de Janeiro, San Salvador and Praia in terms of the incidence of youth violence, historical approaches and experience in dealing with the issue, Brazil, El Salvador and Cape Verde have all favoured an enforcement-based approach, focusing primarily on repression and law-enforcement mechanisms (police action, specific youth violence legislation, and prosecution, prison and socio-educational systems), instead of interventions aimed at the root causes of violent behaviour. However, recent changes in federal government approaches to public security in Brazil, coupled with state level changes, suggest the materialisation of a discourse shift in the field of youth violence, which has been in the making since the late 1990s. Another common feature in these countries is the incomplete availability of qualified information systems on violence and violent criminality, especially on organised crime and female involvement in urban violence. Civil society actions to prevent and combat urban violence are very diverse. In Brazil, especially Rio de Janeiro, NGOs, associations and grassroots organisations have a fairly long track record when dealing with the issue of youth violence, promoting initiatives and programmes mostly aimed at youth violence prevention, especially at the primary level. These initiatives and programmes have been based on skills training, sports, culture, empowerment and, to lesser extent, professional training and labour market integration. In San Salvador, despite the severity of youth violence, civil society approaches are less diversified and effective. Like any other violence-afflicted country in Central America, violence prevention and especially intervention programmes, namely those aimed at the perpetrators of violence, face greater disadvantages and less funding and support from the region’s crime-weary population. In Praia, the involvement of civil society in this matter has been slow. However, in recent years, the experiences of civil society organisations, sometimes in partnership with public institutions, have been singled out as good examples and as having had some direct impact on youth involved in violence in the Cidade da Praia. Responding to and effectively preventing youth urban violence requires a comprehensive approach which takes into account the intra-social forms of violence committed by and against youth, as well as the structural conditions which determine the marginalisation of youth. This includes prevention programmes which help young people in vulnerable situations, intervention programmes which offer alternatives for those attracted to violence, rehabilitation prospects for those who wish to leave violent groups, and those leaving prison and socioeducational systems. Capable and accountable law-enforcement bodies, protection and support mechanisms for victims of violence, adequate arms control policies, up-to-date data collection and analysis systems on youth and violence, and whole-of-government and multi-disciplinary approaches to violence are also key.
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CES - Vários

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