Crime and radicalisation
Crimes committed by young people are increasing, and this worries every parent. How can you prevent your own child from drifting into crime? What to do as a parent if a young person commits crimes?
Socioeconomic disadvantage, social exclusion and problems with family and friendships are symptomatic of many young people who commit crimes. Young people need safe adults, emotional skills, clear limits, acceptance and meaningful activities. Support and encourage your children in their growth and schooling. Be present together with them and interested in them. Build a trusting relationship so that the young person dares to ask for help when it is needed. Accept the young person as they are and show that you care. Teach the young person to recognise and show their feelings as well as to take responsibility for their own actions.
It is important for parents to know where their children spend their free time and who their friends are. Warning signs may include changes in the circle of friends and concealment of where one is going as well as if the young person suddenly has access to money, goods or clothes that they did not receive from home.
Several different organisations in cooperation have published an information package on the subject: How to prevent underage crime? Answers for parents by the police. The questions and answers have been compiled into a multilingual video series for the YouTube channel of HyTe ry (FI, AR, EN).
If your young person ends up committing crimes or you suspect it, ask for and accept help. There are many kinds of support available.
If you suspect or know that a young person has committed a crime or uses intoxicants in a worrying way, the Ankkuri (Anchor) activity, which operates in various parts of Finland, can be of help. The Ankkuri activity organises multiprofessional support for young people as early as possible.
Settling criminal cases through a traditional court often takes a long time. Queues for hearings are long, and prolonging the case does not help the victim or the perpetrator. In Helsinki, it is possible to enter mediation activities, in which both parties to the crime participate with mediators. More information is available in the Somali and Arabic languages. In addition to the mediation activities of the City of Helsinki, young people can participate in street mediation through Aseman Lapset ry.
If you suspect or know that a young person has a very extreme worldview, and you fear that they are involved in a violent ideology or an extremist movement, contact the Exit project coordinated by the Helsinki Deaconess Institute (Diakonissalaitos). The Exit project supports breaking away from extremist activities and helps young people to become part of society.
Suomen Pakolaisapu ry and Aseman Lapset ry have a joint Sawian project, which supports young people at risk of marginalisation and prevents young people from joining gangs or becoming radicalised. The project supports the whole family.
In connection with crimes committed by young people, there is often also talk about gangs. What is meant by a gang? Is a group of young people always a gang? The Finnish-Somali Association has a project called Meidän jengi (Our gang), where these issues are discussed and solutions to gang-related problems are sought.