Violence Prevention Strategies in the Child and Youth Services in Germany with reference to young people aged 13 and up

Holthusen, Bernd/Schäfer, Heiner
In: Centre for the Prevention of Youth Crime (Hrsg.) (2008):
Violence Prevention Strategies in the Child and Youth Services in Germany with reference to young people aged 13 and up. Deutsches Jugendinstitut
This is an account of the key programmes and strategies used by the Kinder und Jugendhilfe (child and youth services) in dealing with violence. It excludes services provided by child day-care centres and by family support services, which are described in separate contributions. In Germany, the child and youth services are legally defined in the German Social Code Book VIII. In the interests of a better under¬standing of what the child and youth services can and cannot do in terms of violence prevention, the first section of the present chapter describes the field of action. It covers the legislative framework and the structural background, also the fundamental principles and perspectives involved.The second section provides an overview of the main strategies of violence prevention, distinguishing between those aimed globally at all children and young people and those basically aimed at young persons from whom there is reason to anticipate violent behaviour. This last group is subdivided again. Situations are described in which there were conflicts or a “perceived” threat of violence, but also others in which violence actually occurred or continues to occur and young people have committed criminal acts. A further section is devoted to the strategies concerned with young people as victims or potential victims of violence. Each of the sections ends with a summing-up of the main points of the strategies discussed, with due emphasis on the cross-relevant topics of gender, migration and participation. The following section, which may be thought of as a higher-level approach, deals with strategies for further professional development in violence prevention in the child and youth services. In view of the frequency with which current public debate on young persons and right-wing extremism mentions violence almost in the same breath, we devote an excursus specifically to violence prevention in that context. Finally, we detail the key challenges to be confronted.