Juvenile Violence Prevention: The Gap between Ideals and Practices

María José Bernuz Beneitez, Daniel Jiménez Franco


When speaking about juvenile violence and delinquency, most experts believe that the best solution is the development of preventive programs and, specifically, primary and early intervention through more comprehensive social policies.

The purpose of this article is to present some Spanish findings of a European research on prevention of the juvenile delinquency, YouPrev. Mainly the gap between the ideal of the prevention as a means to avoid troubles and the little ideas to implement these ideals. At the same time it shows the main reasons why Spain has not got a real policy prevention of juvenile delinquency.


This work compares some of the theoretical key factors in the prevention of juvenile delinquency by using a sample of experts and soliciting their views in all areas of intervention with juvenile delinquents: formal and non-formal education, juvenile justice, police, child protection, health, etc., within the framework of the European project YouPrev. Two workshops (of 14 or 15 participants) and 20 semistructured interviews were conducted in which, among others, the subject of the prevention of juvenile delinquency was addressed, both from an analytical and a purposive point of view.


In both interviews and discussion groups, experts in juvenile violence demonstrate clearly that their proposals do not manage to go beyond the idealistic level. They find structural obstacles to the improvement of the effects of preventive interventions on young people. This is the case for all the experts both in coordination and networking and even in the evaluation of programs with no clear goals.

Research Limitations / Implications:

The research results have implications for policy making in the fields of juvenile delinquency prevention.

Practical Implications:

The article is also useful for social and judicial operators dealing with the young people in different areas (health, education, justice).


The research presented in this article is showing the main obstacles to a effective prevention policy of juvenile crime and violence.

UDC: 343.91-053.6

Keywords: violence, juvenile delinquency, prevention, implementation, children's rights

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