Crime Prevention Through Sports

ByEditor 2

Aug 2, 2022

By Dominion Iwuh

Crime Prevention comprises strategies and measures that seek to reduce the risk of crimes occurring, and their potentially harmful effects on individuals and society, including fear of crime, by intervening to influence their multiple causes. It is an attempt to reduce and deter crime and criminals. It is applied specifically to efforts made by governments to reduce crime, enforce the law, and maintain criminal justice.

As part of its efforts to support the implementation of the Doha Declaration, UNODC launched a global youth crime prevention initiative to build on the power of sports as a tool for peace. The initiative aims to promote sports and related activities to prevent crime and effectively build the resilience of at-risk youth. Strengthening the life skills of youth is a key objective in order to minimize risk factors and maximize protective factors related to crime, violence and drug use. By enhancing knowledge of the consequences of crime and substance abuse and developing life skills, the initiative seeks to positively influence the behaviour and attitudes of at-risk youth and prevent anti-social and risky behaviour.

While concluding as part of the Doha Declaration Global Programme at the end of September 2021, UNODC’s global initiative on youth crime prevention through sport continues its activities as part of the organization’s wider crime prevention and criminal justice activities, including in the context of a joint project with International Olympic Committee  (IOC) to ‘Strengthen Youth Resilience through Sport: Using sport to promote positive youth development and social change to prevent crime, violence, and drug use (2022-2025)’.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development underlines the growing contribution of sports as a tool for peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect. It also highlights the contributions that sport can make to the empowerment of communities as a whole, to individuals (particularly women and young people) as well as to health, education and social inclusion.

More specifically, sports offer an important opportunity for building life skills of at-risk youth that allow them to better cope with daily life challenges and move away from involvement in violence, crime or drug use.

Through partnerships with Governments, sports organizations and civil society, UNODC conducted a range of national and regional youth-oriented awareness-raising sports initiatives which further promoted civic values and disseminated the benefits of sport in keeping youth from becoming involved in crime and violence.

Youth were placed at the centre of outreach activities as agents for change. By sharing their experiences on how sports and life skills training helped them to stay away from crime, youth were engaged and reached out to other at-risk youth.

UNODC’s evidence-informed and sports-based life skills training curriculum – was designed as a unique tool that transfers the accumulated expertise of the United Nations and other partners in implementing life skills training for crime and drug use prevention to sports settings.

Through the Line Up Live Up programme, sports coaches, teachers and others working with youth in sports settings were able to target valuable life skills, such as resisting social pressures to engage in delinquency, coping with anxiety and communicating effectively with peers, through a set of interactive and fun exercises.

The training programme was implemented in twelve countries across the world, ranging from Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East to Latin America and the Caribbean.

The training programme was implemented as part of the Doha Declaration Global Programme until September 2021 in fourteen countries across the world, ranging from Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East to Latin America and the Caribbean.

The 2020 UNODC report ‘Youth Crime Prevention through Sport: Insights from the UNODC Line Up Live Up pilot programme’ analyses the quantitative and qualitative data collected from routine monitoring and evaluation tools, including youth and trainer surveys, in 11 countries and selected process and impact assessments studies conducted by UNODC. The report places key findings and lessons learned in the context of relevant research on the use of sport for youth violence and crime prevention and provides recommendations on effecting programming and integration of the sport in crime prevention and criminal justice frameworks.

  • Iwuh, is a final year undergraduate of the Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies, Osun State University
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