Hungarian Policy on Youth crime
The priorities of crime prevention are defined by the National Strategy for Community Crime Prevention (2003) reacting to the actual challenges of crime. The Strategy has a separate chapter dealing with the prevention and reduction of juvenile crime.
In the Republic of Hungary every person under eighteen years of age qualifies a minor. As per minors, Act IV of 1978 on the Criminal Code (hereinafter referred to as the Criminal Code) distinguishes between infants/children and juveniles within this category. This distinction is relevant in terms of criminal liability, as per perpetrators, the Criminal Code sets out that punishability shall be precluded by infancy, which means that any person younger than fourteen years of age when committing a crime, shall not be punishable. According to he Criminal Code juvenile is the person who is between his/her fourteenth and eighteenth year of age when committing a crime.
Research shows that the younger criminal behaviour starts, the higher the chance of repeated offending or the formation of a criminal lifestyle. Young people are victims as well as offenders. In preventing children and young people becoming offenders and victims, key roles are played by the family, child and youth protection services, educational institutions, civil organisations and churches, and – in setting up local coordination – by local authorities and the police. The problem of youth crime in general needs interventions which are parts of a complex youth policy and using the experiences and best practices of this priority of community crime prevention.
Crime prevention aims at improving the efficiency of the early-warning system and the cooperation between child protection, social, health, education and judicial institutions and the police. The social integrative capacity of the institutions of child protection is to be improved. Programmes for the social integration of multiple disadvantaged children and youth, information programmes (e.g. information on healthy living, drug- and crime prevention programmes in schools) for students, programmes to teach the methods of non-violent conflict management/resolution, and finally programmes to provide useful and safe free-time activities (recreation places, sport programmes, “midnight sport championships”, Safe Amusement Places Programme) are the ones promoted by the National Crime Prevention Board. These programmes apply methods like peer-help, drama pedagogy, experiential education, common child-parent activities.
(More information: http://www.bunmegelozes.hu)
Crime Prevention Unit, Department for Judicial Codification and Legal Administration
Ministry of Justice and Law Enforcement
National Crime Prevention Board