EESC opinion: Urban areas and youth violence

This page is also available in

EESC opinion: Urban areas and youth violence

Key points

The aim of this own-initiative opinion is to shed some light on youth violence and make some recommendations on the matter without seeking to incriminate young people or tar them all with the same brush.

The recommendations made in this opinion adhere to two guidelines:

  1. A preventive approach to such violence. The causes of violent or antisocial behaviour often lie in issues such as urban design and structure, and poverty and marginalisation. Furthermore, whilst young people are undoubtedly the main culprits in this type of violence, they are also the victims of the world around them.
  2. In an area as closely inter-linked as Europe, not only economically but also in terms of values, social behaviour and communication, this is a phenomenon that should not be addressed from a purely national standpoint.

The factors underpinning collective urban violence are well known: unemployment, job instability, family breakdown, failure at school, discrimination. However, the situation has grown more serious in recent years and the responses adopted have hardened. All of this results in situations of keenly-felt injustice and withdrawal which, when expressed collectively, become the most visible form of opposition to the authorities.

This opinion therefore recommends that measures be coordinated at the local, national and European levels, thus requiring Community responses in the form of specific programmes in the fields of family and youth policy, education and training, employment, crime prevention and judicial coordination. These practical responses should strive to complement strategies for urban renewal, improving public services, combating all forms of discrimination and giving a new boost to relations between the State and its citizens, especially as regards police.