Bologna, Italy, 29th June 2012 – European partners of the EU Street Violence project met on 27th and 28th June in Bologna, Italy. This project, which is co-financed by the European Commission, aims at creating an online database that will include knowledge and practices on the prevention of violence committed by groups of youths. It will be accessible to field workers, academics, and decision-makers.
It was the third meeting of the project partners since EU Street Violence was launched in 2011. The first day of the meeting was dedicated to a presentation of the database, which is currently being finalised, and on the preliminary findings of the research led by each of the project partners. Attendees also discussed the final publication that will present the conclusions of the EU Street Violence project.
The following day was dedicated to the project intermediate conference, which was organised in partnership with the Emilia-Romagna region. Around 100 people attended this conference aimed at exchanging European experience on violence committed by groups of youths in public space.
In her opening address, Simonetta Saliera, Vice-President of the Emilia-Romagna region, explained that even though her region is not affected by this phenomenon, conditions exist that could trigger it, according to studies led in partnership with the University of Bologna. This is why Emilia-Romagna pursues a prevention policy in this field, which combines research and field work.
Rossella Selmini, head of the security department of the Emilia-Romagna region and representative of the Italian Forum for Urban Security (FISU, according to its Italian acronym), made a presentation on the historic roots of youth violence in Italy. She said that up until recently, youth violence in Italy was curbed by the “informal control” exerted in the family, but that families are losing their weight in society. This trend has motivated Emilia-Romagna to join the EU Street Violence project. Stefania Crocitti, criminologist at the University of Bologna, then presented a case-study on the characteristics of youth gangs in Emilia-Romagna.
These interventions were followed by two round-tables. The first was moderated by experts and was dedicated to the exchange of information on street violence and gangs in various European countries (Belgium, France, and Spain). The second was on how to manage groups of young troublemakers. Representatives of the city of Rotterdam (Netherlands) and of the National Community Safety Network (NSCN, United Kingdom), as well as a sociologist of the University of Genoa, and the Director of Prevention for the police of Brussels-Ixelles (Belgium) presented the research and practices led by their respective organisations.
The conference concluded with a preliminary presentation of the database and the first results of the project by Psytel, a non lucrative company partner of the project.