The goal of this document is to promote a better understanding of how to meaningfully and effectively engage youth. We discuss methods that help or hinder relations with youth, outline how to present to and work with youth, and provide further suggestions for how to engage youth as well as a list of additional resources. The information in this document is based on research, consultation with our Youth Advisory Committee, and our own personal experiences and observations as members of a by-youth, for-youth crime prevention program.
The DEAL.org Program went into diverse communities across the country to ask youth to talk about the barriers they face and what they would do to change them. The youth participated in the forums enthusiastically; many reported that youth/police interactions were largely negative and this opportunity to be genuinely heard by the RCMP and given a way to contribute to crime prevention was very welcomed. Many of the issues identified and discussed were socio-economic ones, indicating that the youth have a strong grasp on what the root causes of crime are and are keen to address them.
No two youth or families are the same. This diversity means there is no single solution for dealing with youth issues. Not all adults have the same type of relationship with the youth in their lives. As a result, there is a wide spectrum of responses you can use when dealing with us.
Spectrum of Responses graphic (.pdf)
Much time has been put into researching the various root causes of crime. Delinquent behaviour is the result of individual, community and environmental factors all colliding together at once (Institute for the Prevention of Crime). No one person is completely risk-free – there will always be certain risk factors that exist as a result of our daily lives, communities or cultures. However, one can mitigate the presence of risk factors by strengthening or creating protective factors.