German Policy on Youth crime

At all times, young persons committed offences more often than adults which is mainly because they have not concluded the development of their personality and often do not sufficiently discern the consequences of their acts. Solely serious forms of youth delinquency and the phenomenon of persistent offenders require special explanations, such as belonging to social strata characterized by social disintegration, unemployment, deficits in the families (e.g. experience of violence) and the direct social environment, as well as deficits in educational/vocational integration, cultural problems of adaptation for people with migrant background (e.g. acceptance of violence-oriented virility norms) up to individual personal aspects motivating criminal behaviour (e.g. little ability of self-control and empathy, alcohol/drug consumption, extensive use of violent media contents).
Since the federal German constitutional order gives the 16 “Länder” the sovereignty in police matters on their respective territory, each of the Länder has its own strategy for the prevention of youth crime. However, the Länder exchange their views in the “Commission on Crime Prevention by the Police“.

Strategies and concepts for violence prevention in Germany aim at building up competencies creating a distance from violence:

  • Training of social and emotional competence,
  • Counter-aggression courses,
  • Civic education courses.

Violence prevention in Germany is designed to support children and parents prior to the emergence of violence by promoting and strengthening protective factors.

Unlike general penal law, the penal law relating to young offenders is not based on the idea of punishment and compensation for the wrong committed, but on education aiming at preventing future delinquency: Prevention takes precedence over repression.

Contact details: please contact the national representative for Germany for further information