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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The one-day forum, slated for the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, will seek to increase awareness of interventions.
  • It will also allow for the sharing of best practices and the sensitisation of individuals and organisations as to the avenues through which they can contribute to violence prevention.
  • The Unite for Change programme is based on a revised National Crime Prevention and Community Safety Strategy.

The Ministry of National Security will host a National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention on Thursday, January 30, as it continues to roll-out the ‘Unite for Change’ public education and behaviour change programme aimed at tackling the nation’s crime problem.

The one-day forum, slated for the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, will seek to increase awareness of interventions and preventative approaches that are currently in place, to combat crime and violence among the nation’s youth.

It will also allow for the sharing of best practices and the sensitisation of individuals and organisations as to the avenues through which they can contribute to violence prevention, or initiate preventative measures, within their own communities.

Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, told JIS News that the forum will provide an opportunity to engage a wide cross-section of Government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and Faith-based institutions regarding the ‘Unite for Change’ programme.

“Ultimately, we intend to develop a mechanism aimed at coordinating action, as there can be a number of interventions taking place in an ad hoc way (which), if streamlined and with synergy, can have a greater impact,” he stated.

The Unite for Change programme is based on a revised National Crime Prevention and Community Safety Strategy (NCPCSS), which was approved by Cabinet in October 2013. The strategy recognises that security requires a multi-faceted approach, involving both state and non-state partners.

“The Unite for Change programme recognises that law enforcement alone, will not suffice. Every Ministry has a role to play,” Mr. Bunting said.

Some of the key Ministries in the fight against crime are Education, Youth and Culture, Health, and Local Government and Community Development.

Mr. Bunting said that the Ministry of Health is critical, “as many of the manifestations of violence that we see, have at their root, persons who have mental health issues, depression and inability to cope with anger.”

Mr. Bunting noted that the Local Government Ministry also has a key role to play as “we have learnt that the built environment can support crime prevention, and so there are many things that can and will be done through this initiative.”

In addition to the Security Minister, other speakers scheduled to address the forum are Finance and Planning Minister, Hon. Dr. Peter Phillips; Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna; Epidemiologist and innovator in violence reduction, Dr. Gary Slutkin; and author and leading voice on violence prevention and family policy in the United States of America, Jack Calhoun.

Four regional fora are scheduled to be held, which will engage students in Kingston and St. Andrew and St. Catherine, as well as Mandeville, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.