• January 2002
  • Vol. 3, No. 1

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Government and Private Sector Partner to Reduce and Prevent Youth Victimization

In an effort to break the "cycle of violence," Federal, State, and local governmental programs are joining forces with private sector organizations to provide services to children who are victims of violent crime, child abuse and neglect, and exposure to violence.

These efforts are highlighted in a new issue of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Action Plan Update "Addressing Youth Victimization." The Coordinating Council, composed of nine statutory members representing Federal agencies and nine practitioner members representing disciplines that focus on youth, was chartered by Congress to coordinate Federal programs related to juvenile justice delinquency prevention, the care and detention of unaccompanied juveniles, and missing and exploited children. The Council is co-chaired by the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Through an interagency agreement, the Children's Bureau contributes funding to support the development of the Bulletin series.

In the Coordinating Council's 1996 National Juvenile Justice Action Plan, eight objectives were outlined.

The October 2001 Action Plan Update Bulletin, the first in a series on the Action Plan's implementation, focuses on objective 5: "Break the cycle of violence by addressing youth victimization, abuse, and neglect." It contains recent data on juvenile victimization, victimization trends, effective and promising strategies and programs, and updated information on Federal programs since 1996.

The Bulletin describes activities being conducted by Council member agencies--the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Corporation for National Service, and the National Endowment for the Arts--that relate to the following six Action Steps:

  • Improve juvenile and family court handling of child abuse and neglect cases
  • Enhance local efforts to investigate and prosecute child abuse and neglect cases and strengthen child protective services
  • Strengthen at-risk families and support Healthy Start programs for children
  • Support community-based services that reduce family violence and victimization
  • Provide training and technical assistance to strengthen agencies serving children and their families
  • Improve services to children who are victims of abuse and other crimes.

Programs that relate to multiple action steps are also included. The National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information (http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov), one of the sponsoring organizations of the Children's Bureau Express, is noted as an activity under Action Step 5. It provides an extensive document collection, information and referrals, technical assistance, and other products and services. A Clearinghouse project, the Child Welfare Training Online Network (http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/profess/workforce/index.cfm), also is recognized for providing the most current training and resource materials for the child welfare workforce, as well as networking opportunities.

The Bulletin concludes by affirming that the Federal government has been working hard on these issues and that it is now clear that programs aimed at reducing violence should be directed toward parents, teachers, school officials, law enforcement and juvenile justice professionals so that they might recognize the "red flags" that suggest the presence of victimization in a child's life. Also, the Bulletin urges more proactive approaches in law enforcement efforts. The ultimate goal of these efforts is to help break the cycle of violence by minimizing youth victimization and exposure to violence.

Access a copy of the Action Plan Update Bulletin, "Addressing Youth Victimization," online at: http://www.ncjrs.org/html/ojjdp/action_plan_update_2001_10/index.html

For a print copy, contact:

Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse
PO Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Phone: 1-800-638-8736
Fax: 301-519-5212
Email: askncjrs@ncjrs.org
Website: http://puborder.ncjrs.org

Related Item

Visit the website of Partnerships Against Violence Network (http://www.pavnet.org), a "virtual library" of information about violence and at-risk youth, representing data from seven different Federal agencies. Violence prevention professionals can communicate and share resources through the Pavnet mailgroup.

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