Over the last 10 years, persons between the ages of 15 and 24 have been found to be among the main perpetrators of crimes, such as homicides. This is according to the Ministry of National Security (MNS). The Ministry also reports that many young persons are taking up leadership roles within violent gangs. It is therefore imperative that young people know how to solve their conflicts at an early age.
In an effort to support this, the Government of Jamaica (GOJ), has implemented a number of strategies to promote peace among youth. Some of these include:
- National Peace Day – Celebrated on the first Tuesday of March each year, this aims to create awareness in schools and the wider society of the need for peace and building better interpersonal skills. The day is promoted through activities in schools across the island.
- School Suspension Intervention Programme – The programme, an initiative of the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF) in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, engages with students who have been suspended, through various behaviour-change and conflict-resolution activities. This is to help them with a smooth reentrance into school once their suspension period has ended. The students are usually referred to the programme by schools.
- Peer Mediation Training – Spearheaded by the DRF, students, youth, church leaders and youth club leaders are trained in conflict resolution and peace-building skills. The peer mediators are trained to become peace managers who can go on to support their respective schools and communities. Community representatives, guidance counsellors or deans of discipline help to sustain the programme. Trainings are conducted online or face-to-face (with strict adherence to all COVID-19 protocols). Certificates are awarded to successful participants.
- Legislation – The GOJ is currently strengthening legislation to protect children from exposure to violent situations through the amendment of the Child Care and Protection Act.
For additional information, contact:
The Ministry of Education and Youth
2-4 National Heroes Circle
Conflict Resolution Tips: https://moey.gov.jm/how-to-avoid-conflicts-at-school/
Facebook & Twitter : @moeyijamaica
Ministry of Justice
61 Constant Spring Road
Toll Free: 1-888-4-justice (587-8423)
Instagram, Facebook & Twitter: @mojofficialjm
Dispute Resolution Foundation
Peace Centre & Corporate Head Office
5 Camp Road
Telephone: 876-906-2456 or 876-908-3657
Facebook: Dispute Resolution Foundation