The role of youth work in crime prevention

Karen Alejandra Garza Figueroa, a MSc International Development student at the University of Edinburgh, completed a placement based dissertation at YouthLink Scotland in 2023. The focus of Karen’s research was youth work’s role in crime crime prevention.

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This study aims to contribute to the Youth work field by providing valuable insights into the impact of youth work on crime prevention. To achieve this goal, the study uses a qualitative
approach to understand the role of youth work, focusing on narratives from seven youth workers.

Chapter 1 critically compares the Risk Factor Paradigm and social and developmental approaches to understanding youth crime. Chapter 2 explores the complexities of youth crime
and emphasises the importance of including the perspectives of young people. Here, Youth work emerges as a crucial approach to understanding youth crime and empowering young people with the tools to resist criminal involvement. Chapter 3 compares the factors influencing and surrounding youth crime found by The Edinburgh Study with the testimonies of youth workers. Chapter 4 highlights youth workers’ role in preventing crime by offering universal services, positive experiences, support for identity discovery, and being reliable adults for young people.

Overall, this research provides valuable insights into the impact of youth work on crime prevention, highlighting the critical role of youth workers in supporting young people and
preventing crime.

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