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Young People & Violence

Young People & Violence
It is with growing concern that the Conference of Cantonal Directors of Justice and Police (CCDJP) have been monitoring the development of violence by and among young people. At the end of 2006 they therefore instructed the SKP (Swiss crime prevention) to develop an action plan dealing with the topic  «Young People and Violence»

It was decided that in view of the wide range of preventive measures already being implemented at cantonal level (municipal and cantonal police forces, cantonal education and social departments, private partners and others), and bearing in mind the SKP’s limited human and financial resources, there should not be a nationwide multimedia information campaign.   
The main focus of the «Young People and Violence Action Plan 2008», authorised in 2007 by the CCDJP is on, among others:
promoting the education and training of the members of the cantonal and municipal police forces
creating of an Internet platform that lists and summarises all the prevention projects being undertaken by the cantonal and municipal police forces
coordinating existing and planned (crime prevention) measures in the police forces
exchanging experience and know-how within the police force as well as with other non-government departments, organisations and institutions, and the media and policy makers.
In preparing the «Young People and Violence Action Plan 2008» in 2007, the SKP conducted a survey among the cantonal police, education and social departments. The aim was to determine which measures for preventing violence by and among young people were already being planned and implemented by these departments.  The results of the survey can be found in Part II of the action plan.

Although a wide range of measures have been initiated and implemented by the departments participating in the survey, it is not the job of the police alone to address the issues surrounding the prevention of violence by and among young people. Effectively tackling violence among young people requires in-depth knowledge and an understanding of the reasons and motives for the violent behaviour of young people on the one side, and close cooperation of the police with both state and non-governmental organisations on the other.Despite the numerous measures that have been implemented to date, there are still significant deficits in the Information on

  • the efficacy of existing prevention measures is extremely fragmented.
  • Violence prevention is only more or less integrated into comprehensive and long-term health promotion.
  • Prevention measures for different age groups, spheres and segments of the population are barely coordinated.
  • Too little contact to those sectors of the population that are not well integrated.
  • prevention work both at canton and municipal levels.
Violence prevention should therefore be neither designed nor implemented as an isolated undertaking, nor should it focus exclusively on the violence itself. The SKP believes that it also involves educating children and young people to non-violence and empowering them to deal with conflicts.

Further Information

SCP mandate
At their autumn convention in September 2006 the Swiss Association of CID Directors (SVKC) generated a list of possible SKP (campaign) topics for 2008. The issues on the agenda were hooliganisms, Internet criminality (also known as cyber crime) and young people and violence. At their meeting in October 2006 commanders and CID heads from all police departments discussed these three issues in detail.
It soon became apparent that the issue of hooliganism could not be adequately dealt with by the SKP prior to the European Football Championship 2008, which is being held in Switzerland. Besides, the project organisation EURO 2008 has targeted the problem specifically in their «Security» project. The decision was therefore made to dissociate from the issue (see box on the right).

It was also agreed that the topic «Internet crime» be given a higher priority as the amount of damage caused by it is on the rise. The providers of auction Websites are, however, already providing information on prevention. Collaboration between the SKP and private groups is also being sought (see box on the right).
Presentation of the first draft in February 2007 and the decision on the detailed model in September and October 2007
In the discussion the project task-force - made up of representatives of the commanders and CID heads from all police departments - agreed on the recommendation, from 2008 on the SKP should actively engage in prevention measures or an information campaign with regard to young people and violence. The required concept will be drawn up in 2007. In March 2007 the office of the SKP presented the first draft of a possible campaign to the project and management commission. Both committees approved it. The detailed model was conclusively passed following its discussion and approval by the project commission in September 2007 and by the management commission -- comprising five members of the Federal Council – counsellors Yvonne Schärli-Gerig, LU, President; Jean Studer, NE; Alois Christen, SZ; Jean-René Fournier, VS; Guy Morin BS –, which met in October 2007.  The approach that was to be taken was decided by the CCDJP at their autumn conference in November 2007. Important aspects to be considered in preparing the model and the measures to be taken: 
  • The action plan is to be drawn up in accordance with the principles of situational prevention (social prevention) and behavioural prevention (individual prevention).
  • In developing the action plan special attention is to be paid to police crime prevention, in particular the relationship between suppression and prevention.
Numerous cantonal and municipal police forces have already selected the topic «young people and violence» as one of the main focal issues of police crime prevention; the significance of the subject is widely recognised. Suppressive measures have to be accompanied by continuing work in the area of prevention. The SKP believes that this must also include non-violence training and empowering young people to deal with conflicts. A further aspect is the avoidance of escalation.

Situation analysis
A situation analysis, in the form of a survey of the cantonal police forces and education and social departments, was an integral part of further action. The results of the survey were the foundation upon which the detailed model was created. The aim of the survey of the three groups named above was to find out which previous, current or future preventive measures had been taken or were being planned. Questionnaires with 8 questions were sent to the commanders of the 30 police forces as well as to the administrative heads of the education and social departments. Further information on the survey is in Part II of the action plan.

Initial situation
«Juvenile violence» as such, has only been recognised as a threat to society since the middle of the 20th century. Explanatory models refer, among other things, to unemployment, social class and poverty, new patterns of leisure time and entertainment activities, increased depiction of violence in the media, changing family circumstances and male socialisation. Media presentation of information on the extent and forms of individual incidents of juvenile violence or crime is not necessarily congruent with actual developments. Juvenile violence still only represents a fraction of all acts of violence carried out in society today.

Even so, statistics suggest that young people’s readiness to use violence has significantly increased in recent years Thus, the police crime statistic (PCS) shows that from 1999 to 2006 investigations against underage offenders have continually and noticeably increased. Incidences of bodily injury have increased from 760 to 1,525; threats have increased from 405 to 869. In the same period the number of sentences passed against young violent offenders increased dramatically from 1,241 to 2,268 convictions (simple assault: increase from 288 to 638; threats: increase from 148 to 317).

Crime statistics (for example PCS, victims aid statistic and the juvenile convictions statistic) have only limited use when it comes to understanding and evaluating juvenile violence on a more sophisticated level. The type and extent of the crimes recorded depend on how they are reported by the public, and on criminal prosecution by the police. Extreme caution has therefore to be exercised when interpreting the data.

The 2007 report by the Federal Department of Justice and Police (DJP) «Juvenile violence: its extent, causes and measures» established that, “extent and development of juvenile violence cannot be accurately estimated on the basis of existing data. Fear mongering would therefore not be appropriate.” However, the DJP also emphasizes, “that the problem of juvenile violence should not be played down and the extent of the violence is a cause for fear to some sectors of the public. Besides, existing statistics suggest that in recent years young people’s readiness to use violence has increased”.

Prevention aims of the canton police force
The principal aim of the police is to fulfil their suppressive and preventive mandate to ensure public safety and uphold order. The police do their job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and rely on a good functioning network of state and non-governmental institutions and organisations for support in order to fulfil the mandate

In the field of crime prevention their job is to involve, sensitise and inform public and relevant target audiences, e.g. experts who care for injured parties, victims and offenders at local and regional levels; the canton’s youth services, street workers, cantonal youth representatives and integration representatives as well as in the areas of schools, parents and recreation.

In their everyday functioning the members of the police force have to develop their ability to reflect on prevention, know their field of work extremely well and be aware which experts are responsible for what in the sectors education, training, care and welfare.

See Part I of the Young People and Violence Action Plan 2008.

Wide range of preventive measures at cantonal level
The debate on the topic «Young people and violence» that has been going on for years has resulted in the creation in Switzerland of a wide range of institutional departments and measures dealing with prevention and intervention in the field of violence. In addition, there are a large number of projects and programmes being carried out by specialist organisations.

See Part II of the Young People and Violence Action Plan 2008.

Structural problems in planning and implementing measures against juvenile violence
The planning and implementation of measures that deal with violence by young people is made more difficult by a series of structural problems, which policy makers will have to deal with. They include the following aspects:

  1. The substructures for police crime prevention are not standardised at national level.
  2. The terminology used in police crime prevention is not consistent.
  3. The understanding of police crime prevention various enormously and so, therefore, does the role that can be played by the police in this field.
  4. The responsibilities of the police force are weighted differently in each of the cantons There are obvious differences between the cantons with regard to the importance given to the suppression and prevention of crime, e.g. in interaction with schools.
  5. The importance, or interpretation of data from the light and dark fields has not been clarified.
  6. The importance of young serious offender on the topic «Young people and violence» has not been clarified.
  7. How responsibilities are shared among the cantonal authorities as well as between the authorities and non-governmental organisations has not been clarified.
  8. Statistics documenting juvenile delinquency are not consistent. The police and justice authorities employ different systems.
  9. The police and justice authorities employ different systems for documenting juvenile delinquency. This means that juvenile delinquency is interpreted and communicated differently.
  10. How responsibilities in the field «Young people and violence» are shared among the cantons and the federation is interpreted differently.
Young People and Violence Action plan 2008
The action plan formed the working foundation for discussions on young people and violence at the Conference of Cantonal Directors of Justice and Police (CCDJP), the cantonal and municipal police forces and the Swiss crime prevention. The SKP hat attempted to assemble all the relevant aspects, data and sources in just one paper. They lay no claim to the paper being in any way complete.

The action plan is divided into three parts:

Part I details the basic elements.

Part II presents the results of the SKP survey among the cantonal police forces and cantonal education and social departments. The survey was conducted in April 2007 and the results evaluated in June 2007. The results represent the standard of knowledge in June 2007. Crime prevention measures that have been initiated, planned and implemented by the cantonal police forces and cantonal education and social departments after this time, are not included in the paper. The SKP is planning an Internet platform for 2008. It will display all the crime prevention measures in the area of young people and violence that have been taken or are planned by the cantonal and municipal police forces. Compiling and releasing a comprehensive catalogue of all crime prevention measures involves police force involvement.

The conclusions drawn from the survey are presented In part III, as are the measures that are to be worked out from January 2009 with the support of the expert commission.

SKP measures taken in 2008-2009
The results of the SKP survey among the cantonal police forces and cantonal education and social departments are particularly important in devising and planning the future approach. Close examination of the three statements made by the SKP reveals the following three consequences for the SKP:

Consequence 1
The plans for implementing a public mass media campaign (placards, radio and TV commercials, brochures for distribution to the public, etc.) will be abandoned because of the meagre financial and human resources and the numerous measures that have already been planned and implemented by the three official bodies.

Consequence 2
Instead of this, in the coming two years the SKP will concentrate on the aspects; exchange of know-how and experience, promotion of educational and further training modules for the members of the cantonal and municipal police forces (and other relevant actors in this field).This involves bringing the levels of knowledge among members of the police force up to the current stand.

Consequence 3
The action plan is to be understood as an image-campaign promoting the aims and activities of the police. In knowing about the various measures being taken by the police in the field of young people and violence, the public’s subjective feeling of security (increased effectivity and efficiency of police tasks and aims) will increase.

1. The SKP will organise and conduct a national conference of police forces on the topic young people and violence, at which the crime prevention measures being implemented by different police forces from across the country will be presented and discussed. Experts from different disciplines and parts of the country are invited to hold talks on the following subjects: childhood, adolescence, violence, conflict behaviour, education, culture, role of the parents, sexuality, socialisation, alcohol and drug use, use of the media (the influence of new technologies on children and young people), to name only a few examples. The target audience are, in particular, the members of the cantonal and municipal police forces. 

2. An education and training module, which can then be made available to the cantonal and municipal police forces, will be prepared by the SKP in cooperation with the Swiss Police Institute (SPI) and experts from the disciplines childhood, youth, violence, conflict behaviour, education and development, parenting, sexuality, alcohol and drug use, medication consumption and use of the media. Appropriate consideration is to be given to the skilled experience of the police youth officers.

3. The SKP will create an Internet information forum listing and summarising all the crime prevention projects undertaken by the cantonal and municipal police forces (plus contact information).

4. The SKP will strengthen their PR and media efforts (in accord with the cantons), among other things by restoring the «SKP-Newsletters» that is to be published in German, French and Italian three times a year. The newsletter is an ideal multiplier for the SKP’s prevention-message, not only in the area of young people and violence, but also in the other areas in which the SKP is currently active. The Newsletters also functions as a mouthpiece for the management and project commission. The public must be informed on SKP activities.

5. Presentation of the April 2007 SKP survey at the conference of cantonal directors of education (EDK) as well as at the conference of cantonal social and welfare directors (SODK). The managing director of the SKP will provide the conference with the necessary papers.

6. Presentation of the SKP action plan to the national parliamentarians. The managing director of the SKP will provide the necessary papers.

7. Invitation to the Swiss media (training course for journalists) to a half-day information session in Bern on young people and violence. Apart from informing about police activities, the role and responsibilities of the media should also be discussed.

8. Networking of activities carried out by the SKP and the Swiss Federal Health Ministry (BAG) - department responsible for alcohol and drugs-, Federal Office for Social Security (BSV), Federal Commission for Foreigners (EKA), the Federal Children and Youth Commission and other organisations and institutions that operate at national level.

9. Presentation of the Action Plan 2008 to all relevant national professional organisations in the fields of education, social affairs, culture, security etc. The managing director of the SKP will provide the necessary papers.

The SKP has also set itself the goal for 2008, of trying to generate a common and more sophisticated understanding of ‘violence prevention among young people’, by the members of the cantonal and municipal police forces,

The list of 10 problems in the area ‘young people and violence’ will be discussed by the project and management commission, which will endeavour to find both political and structural solutions to the problems on hand.

Database of prevention projects «Youth and Violence»
Commissioned by the Cantonal Directors of Justice and Police (KKJPD), the Swiss Crime Prevention (SKP) has elaborated an action plan «Youth and Violence 2008/2009» which will serve as a basis for the continued development of police prevention measures. One focal point of the action plan is the internal coordination within the police of the existing and planned prevention measures. There was not an overview available of these prevention measures at the time the action plan was elaborated in February 2008.  

For this reason the SKP created a database in the spring of 2009 containing all current and planned police prevention measures of the cantonal and municipal police corps on the issue of «Youth and Violence». All police corps were asked by the SKP at the start of 2009 to provide information on their projects within the area of «Youth and Violence».

Thanks to the database, the KKJPD, the police and other involved parties have a comprehensive collection of police prevention measures available in the area of «Youth and Violence». This collection helps prevent duplications, create synergies and recognise best practices.

The database makes no claim to be complete. The presented projects were selected by the municipal and cantonal police corps. If you have any questions on preventive measures in your place of residence, please contact your local police. 

The database of prevention projects.
Expert committee «Youth and Violence» of the Swiss Crime Prevention
Since the start of 2009 the Swiss Crime Prevention (SKP) has had an expert committee on «Youth and Violence» available which provides it with support for the implementation of the planned measures.  
Anne Lévy
Head of the Alcohol and Tobacco section
Federal Office of Public Health BAG

Markus Jann
Head of the Drugs section
Federal Office of Public Health BAG

Sexual violence and gender issues
Enrico Violi
Representative for measures against violence at school
Education Department of the Canton of Zurich

Christoph Vögeli
Head of the Central Hooliganism Office
Zurich Metropolitan Police

Rolf Weilenmann
Head of Youth Services
Zurich Cantonal Police

Dr. Giulia Brogini
Head of Analysis I section
General Secretariat of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport VBS

Dr. Michele Galizia
Head of the Federal Service for Combating Racism
General Secretariat of the Federal Department of Home Affairs EDI

Childhood/socialisation of children/youths, representative of the police
Dr. Olivier Guéniat
Head of the Criminal Investigation Department
Neuenburg Cantonal Police

Prof. Dr. Christin Achermann
Swiss Centre for Migration Law CDM
University of Neuenburg

Representative of the Juvenile Police
Jean-Marc Granger
Head of Brigade, Brigade of Youth (Chef de Brigade, Brigade de la Jeunesse)
Lausanne Judicial Police (Police Judiciaire)

Maja Mulle
Swiss Federation for Parent Education SBE

Integration/agglomeration policy
Nicole Gysin
Head of the Secretariat for the Tripartite Agglomeration Conference TAK
Conference of Cantonal Governments KdK

Juvenile law
Advocate Dieter Hebeisen
President of the Swiss Association of Juvenile Criminal Justice
Juvenile Court President Berner Oberland

Dr. Daniel Fink
Head of the Crime and Criminal Law section
Federal Statistical Office BFS

Bundesrat / Conseil fédéral / Consiglio federale

Gesamtschweizerisches Präventionsprogramm Jugend und Gewalt
Nationales Programm Jugendmedienschutz und Medienkompetenzen

Les jeunes et la violence - Programme national de prévention
Programme national Protection de la jeunesse face aux médias et compétences

Programma nazionale di prevenzione - I giovani e la violenza
Programma nazionale Protezione della gioventù dai rischi dei media e competenze mediali

Bericht des Bundesrats / Rapport du conseil fédéral (Mai/mai 2009)

«Jugend und Gewalt. Wirksame Prävention in den Bereichen Familie, Schule, Sozialraum und Medien».
«Les jeunes et la violence. Pour une prévention efficace dans la famille, l'école, l'espace social et les médias»

Expertenberichte / Rapports d’expèrts
«Prävention von Jugendgewalt» (Eisner et al.)
«Neue Medien und Gewalt» (Steiner)
(avec des résumés en français)


«Schutz vor Cyberbullying» (26. Mai 2010)
«Protection contre la cyberintimidation» (26 mai 2010) 
«Protezione dal ciberbullismo» (26 giugno 2010) 


Bundesamt für Statistik BFS / Office fédéral de la statistique OFS (Mai/mai 2009)
« Analyses de la récidive: terminologie et définitions»


Sammelstelle für die Statistik der Unfallversicherung UVG / Service de la centralisation des statistiques de l’assurance-accidents LAA (Mai/mai 2009)
«Gewalt unter jungen Menschen»
«La violence chez les jeunes»


Eidgenössisches Justiz- und Polizeidepartement EJPD / Département federal de justice et police DFJP (Juli/juillet 2009)
Ergebnisbericht zur Kantonsumfrage «Jugendliche Intensivtäter»
Rapport «Résultats de l’enquête effectuée auprès des cantons concernant les jeunes multirécidivistes»

D :
F :

Bericht «Jugendgewalt» vom 11. April 2008
Rapport «Les jeunes et la violence» d'avril 2008
Rapporto «Violenza giovanile»dell'aprile 2008


Webseite  «Jugendgewalt»
Site Web «Les jeunes et la violence»
Sito Web «Violenza giovanile»

Bildungsdepartement und Justiz- und Sicherheitsdepartement des Kantons St. Gallen 
(August 2009)
Jugenddelinquenz im Kantons St. Gallen


Created: 22.11.2010 | Changed: 26.11.2010


The swiss weapon law has changed, new rules about soft air guns and other weapons.