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Empowering Youth to Beat the Odds: A National Priority for South Africa

Imagine a South Africa where every at-risk underprivileged youngster has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.

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The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and cheers; however there are a number of crimes that increase during the festive season.

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Physical abuse is the act of hurting someone physically. This could mean hitting, punching or kicking someone, or it could mean neglect and lack of care.

Comment of the week

Soraya Solomon

Nicro CEO


We've been speaking for too long, we've got to take action.

We need YOU!

"If you change nothing - Nothing will change"

We are calling on ALL South Africans to join us in BEING the change we want in our country. Find out how you can play a part in doing something about crime and its impact on our society. 

The risk and protective factors of youth gang involvement can span multiple domains from the individual level (aggressiveness) to the peer (delinquent siblings), school (academic failure), and community levels (poverty). Risk factors encourage or increase the likelihood of youth participating in gangs; whereas a protective factor acts as a buffer in the presence of risk factors. Proper assessment of risk and protective factors for youth and gang involvement helps to inform the development and implementation of prevention and intervention strategies.1

Most youth who become affiliated with gangs lack positive supports from parents, schools, peers, and community.2 Research also indicates a close link between gang involvement and delinquent activity such as substance use. Findings indicate that youth who engage in delinquent activities, specifically illicit alcohol and drug use, are more likely to join gangs and that, as a result of gang involvement, youth are more likely to use illicit drugs and alcohol.3

Risk factors that significantly affect a youth’s chance for gang-involvement include the following:

  •  Aggressiveness,
  •  Early initiation of violent behavior,
  •  Parental criminality,
  •  Child maltreatment,
  •  Low levels of parental involvement,
  •  Parent-child separation,
  •  Academic failure,
  •  Lack of school connectedness,
  •  Truancy and school dropout,
  •  Frequent school transitions,
  •  Delinquent siblings and peers,
  •  Peer gang membership,
  •  Poverty,
  •  Substance use (e.g. illicit drugs and alcohol),
  •  Community disorganization,
  •  Availability of drugs and firearms, and
  •  Exposure to violence and racial prejudice.

Research suggests that the greater the number of risk factors that a youth experiences, the more likely he or she is to join a gang.5 It also shows that a youth’s risk for gang involvement significantly increases as he or she accrues more than two risk factors.6 Therefore, prevention programs that target risk factors can help mitigate youth gang involvement. Additionally, efforts to minimize youth gang involvement can be addressed through promoting protective factors. Research suggests that as youth accumulate more protective factors it lowers the risk of gang involvement.7

Protective factors that have been identified as influential to youth gang involvement include:

  •  Parental involvement and monitoring,
  •  Family support,
  •  Coping skills (interpersonal skills),
  •  Positive social connections,
  •  Peer support,
  •  Academic achievement, and
  •  Reducing delinquency, alcohol, and drug use

NICRO is committed to turning lives around - We encourage all South Africans not to stand back, but become involved either by donating a monthly amount, a once-off donation or look at the NICRO wish list for support in kind for around the country and see how you can assist.

Thank you to our donors