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My elective was youth justice, within this elective I have chosen the topic of youth crime prevention. The preventative service I am communicating to service users in my leaflet is street-based youth work, this links into risk aspect of the whole family teaching.
The audience that my leaflet is aimed at is 13 to 17 year olds who are socially excluded and are at risk of offending and turning to crime. My audience are also difficult to reach through other services and agencies. My leaflet is advertising a preventative street based service for young people. The purpose is to draw in young people and offer them interesting and alternative interactive and challenging options so that they turn away from involvement in crime. This service is an effective way of youth workers building a rapport especially with young people who do not use centres and have not been previously reached by other means of youth prevention.
Government guidance has given me insight and understanding into the links between street based youth work with crime prevention. Government guidance, Transforming Youth Work: Resourcing Excellent Youth Services (2002) has identified that youth work is a key aspect to prevention of crime. The guidance sets out that a ‘contribution’ of youth service is ‘tackling anti-social behaviour and crime’. (pg4). Emphasis is placed on working with young people who may pose a risk of committing anti-social behaviour.
The reason I chose this particular focus is that it is a preventative service already offered to young people in hopes of reducing crime, yet it is not as recognised and I feel that it can be an effective method where harder to reach risk groups can involved.
Research was published by Joseph Rowntree foundation on the role of street-based youth work in linking socially excluded young people into education, training and work. Crimmins et al (2004) found that street based youth work had been successful in ‘reaching and working with large numbers of the most socially excluded young people’ (pg 1, Crimmins 2004)
The Youth Action Plan was a plan that looks at tackling youth crime. On discussion of prevention, the Youth Action plan recognises focus needs to be given to a smaller minority and to early identification. Part of the prevention is to ‘tackle unemployment, increasing opportunities…in a much more targeted and individual way’ (Youth Action Plan, 2008, pg 1) as part of tackling youth crime, street based teams of youth workers will be in place to ‘tackle groups of young people involved in crime and disorder (Youth Action Plan, 2008pg 7)
Street based youth work, promotes development, especially social development. It is designed to be inclusive, empowering and needs led. It can be broken into three separate distinct branches these being mobile, outreach and detached youth work. My leaflet is promoting mobile and detached work.
In the leaflet my focus is on activities that we provide as a service as well as opportunities that can be followed, for example, training, education, etc. This is to encourage young people to approach our mobile unit and this is where further work would be undertaken. By advertising potential benefits for young people when they work with street based youth workers, like activities, for example, DJing, sports, bowling, is ensuring that hard to reach youths are also interested.
As a result of this, the content of the leaflet is an explanation of what we do, why we do it and examples of what has been provided in the past. The designs is very contemporary and is designed to attract the eye of a young person so they may find it interesting enough to pick up, this is why I have incorporated bright colours with graffiti style writing and pictures to grab attention and attract the reader to reading the leaflet. I chose a leaflet designs that folds in 3 times again as a means to attract and draw the reader in by the cover. The leaflet is also directing the reader to a group on face book and videos on YouTube. These are two known applications that young people use. This was confirmed by the young people I piloted my leaflet to.
There are various literatures that relate to prevention of youth crimes and risk of turning to crime. J Margo (2008) explains three different levels of prevention in offending. The secondary level is relevant to my leaflet. The secondary level is more specific and is aimed at target groups who present risk factors. The approach looks at different stages and looks at those who have offended and those who are likely to offend. Street based youth work is a preventive scheme which targets risk groups in who are hard to reach through other agencies.
Risk taking is recognised as part of our development, and to take positive and negative risk is very much part of this human development. Sharland (2006, pg 254) argues there has been evidence that presents the ‘nature and success of the transition to adulthood are much influenced by class, culture, material and social resources’. As a result of these influences ‘those less privileged struggle harder, are more exposed to risk and more likely to take it‘. This is that there are structural disadvantages that lead people to take risks and lack of community resources that can be a factor that leads young people to turn to crime.
These disadvantages can be related to lack of parents employment, educational qualifications, poor parenting, etc. These pre-existing factors can have an impact on young people and as a result young people with these structural disadvantages are at a risk of turning to crime.( White and Cuneen (as cited in Youth Crime and Justice) 2006 )
Issues of social exclusion of young people is relevant to why youth crime takes place, this exclusion is linked also to marginalisation and disempowerment. As a result of risk factors discussed, young people can be at the risk of being marginalised due to their parent’s status in the community, this being for example, and lack of employment. As a result young people may feel disempowered and as a result turn towards crime. (Youth Justice Board, 2001)
To inform me on the leaflet I piloted my completed leaflet to a group of seven teenagers these included family members and friends in the age range of 13 to 17. In doing so, I collected feedback which led me to make adjustments. In the draft, It was reported that the colours used were too bright, there was too much information and not enough pictures. The final draft was piloted and positive response was seen. I have also looked to sources from the internet and other similar services to be able to guide my direction with the leaflet.
A source that informed my leaflet greatly was information from a street based service that is provided by Derbyshire Youth Service. This guided my understanding of street-based youth work and explored the idea of reaching risk groups. Derbyshire Youth service, see street based youth work as having a preventative purpose but recognises young people and encourages them to get involved. The activities that are offered has given me an insight into the content of my leaflet and what activities I could offer.
When examining my leaflet in retrospect I found some positive and negative points. The content in my leaflet is very basic and easy to read and understand. This is deliberate, as pointed out when piloted. It is designed this way to ensure that those reading will be able to read the whole leaflet without losing interest and it is also supposed to encourage young people to want to seek further information. However, this could also have a negative impact. The basic information could attract the youngest of my target group but may isolate the eldest, as they may prefer more depth and detail. I have also found that in retrospect the colours and background art used may overload the reader and may be off putting when trying to read the content.
In designing this leaflet, there were issues that had an impact on what was included. Due to the restriction in space, all information could not be fitted in. As a result of restriction, there was not a possibility to aim the leaflet and individual from different diverse backgrounds, this is the reason I attempted to keep the leaflet neutral as possible. Within my target audience, there can various sub audiences identified, for example, class, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, disability and gender. These social groups are also significant when designing a leaflet and each group has issues that need to be addressed and affect a service however due to space constrictions, it was impossible to address these individually. In my leaflet, I was aware of these issues indirectly and kept them in mind when designing the leaflet and content.
Overall, I feel that my leaflet will reach my target audience and will attract them to involvement with street based youth workers.
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