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A reduction in youth crime and criminal behaviour in the Cayman Islands are central themes to the Youth Anti-Crime Trust (Youth ACT).
Youth ACT is a non-profit association created to develop and implement effective programmes to address anti-social behaviour and to prevent youth crime. Our key objectives are to empower young persons with the required knowledge to prepare them to deal with the social and emotional demands placed on them by their peers and society; and to provide accredited technical and vocational skillbased training and apprenticeship programmes to enhance their ability to gain employment.
In response to a notable increase in anti-social behaviour of our children since the late 1990s, and heightened gang activity among our youth since early 2000, Youth ACT was formed in 2013. Since inception, the organisation has implemented a Youth Crime Prevention Day (YCPD) programme and the Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) initiative.
The YCPD programme is delivered in the public high schools to grades 8 (2nd form) and 10 (4th form) through interactive, knowledge-based sessions on the causes, penalties and consequences of crime. Among the entities involved are the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Her Majesty’s Prison Northward, The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, the Family Resource Centre and the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority. To date, YCPD has been delivered to more than 3,000 students.
Our SNAP initiative is an award-winning, evidence-based, gender-specific programme that teaches children with behavioural problems, as well as their parents, how to make better choices “in the moment.” By strengthening important emotion-regulation, self-control and problem-solving skills, SNAP helps children learn to stop and think before they act, while helping their parents to develop effective parenting skills.
Developed more than 30 years ago by Child Development Institute in Toronto, Canada, SNAP has been successfully implemented in many other locations across the world, including the US and Europe.
Youth ACT is currently in dialogue with HEARTNTA of Jamaica to restart the Jamaican German Automotive School (JAGAS) programme to increase the number of young Caymanians who are trained automechanics and, in turn, reduce youth unemployment.
The need for this programme is supported by data provided by the Economics & Statistics Office, which shows Cayman’s highest level of unemployment is among young people between the ages of 15 and 24; and that the majority of jobs in our technical and vocational sectors are held by non-Caymanians.
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