Self-respect and mutual respect – keystones of a civil society.


National Youth Development Outreach (NYDO) was started 30 years ago in the township of Eersterust by a concerned community member Mr. Billy Paulsen due to high crime and gangsterism activities in the area.  He used his profile as a musician within the community with a rich culture of performing arts to create a safe, positive, and alternative space for young people to develop values and become good citizens of South Africa.

NYDO develop into a registered Non Profit Organisation 19 years ago delivering Diversion and crime prevention services. The COVID-19 pandemic provides us with the required time to reflect on the achievements we have made in reaching children, teens, and adults with the message that we can prevent crime before it happens and help ensure that they can pursue their dreams, free from crime and violence. On the edge of entering the third decade of existence, we can look back at changes within South Africa and within the communities which we work. We have changed as well, looking for finding new ways to implement our prevention plan and adapt to life after Covid-19 with restrictive physical distance and group outreaches whilst staying committed to our main funder, the Department of Social Development and the Integrated Social Crime Prevention Strategy (2011). The current Social Crime Prevention Strategy is informed by the CSIR’s cycle of crime and violence. In the center of this cycle is low trust between the offender and other stakeholders in the community.  The definition of crime prevention according to Lue-Dugmore et al (2008, IN Western Cape, 2012) is targeted interventions with the goal to prevent crime.  Furthermore social crime prevention aims to address underlining causes of crime through the inclusion of multi-faceted, multi disciplinary, integration approaches with the focus on collaboration between different stakeholders on different levels. Adapting an initiative of the Circle of Respect to address the center of the crime and violence cycle in our communities, this initiative builds on our history of leadership development and successful use of edutainment, arts, and culture development.  The theme of “Circle of Respect” as part of our crime prevention programme will enhance our outreach to raise awareness and facilitate activities to occupy the youth. Contributing to the integrated approach, the aim is to address social factors of crime at an individual, family, and community level with respect as an important element. A person with respect for his or her community and its citizens is less likely to join and contribute to the destructive forces of disruptive and violent behaviour.  A partner in a respectful relationship is unlikely to commit relationship violence.  A person with respect for a classmate or co-worker is unlikely to bully that person or engage in workplace violence, cyberbullying, or sexting.  We firmly believe that if we encourage respect, we can have an impact on crime and how individuals treat one another. Self-respect and mutual respect are the keystones of civil society and therefore the objective is to promote respect as a way to manage conflict and prevent criminal behaviour.  The idea is to address many forms of crime that demonstrate a relational disconnect, hopelessness, and uncertainty between individuals and communities evident in violence and disruptiveness behaviour, because everyone matters. The basic theory of the crime prevention triangle says that for a crime to take place, there must be three key elements:  opportunity, ability, and desire.  The theory also holds that if any one element is missing, the crime cannot take place.  NYDO programmes focus on preventing opportunity and ability. In believing the lack of respect can be a fundamental cause of crime, and through the Circle of Respect activities, we can also focus on preventing the desire to commit a crime. The Circle of Respect is intended to encompass crimes in society in which respect is a root cause, from bullying in all its iterations to community disruption. A community outrage engages in senseless violence, for example, which shows that it has no respect for a community or the people in it.  By defacing walls and buildings and intimidating citizens, these community members express their contempt for their neighbours and their surroundings. If they respected themselves and their neighbourhoods, perhaps through educational, vocational, or recreational achievement, their self-esteem would be better and they would make choices that have a positive impact on their own lives and the communities in which they live.

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