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Blocher calls for youth violence crackdown

The Swiss justice minister wants more police presence for schools Keystone

Swiss Justice Minister Christoph Blocher says more needs to be done to stop rising youth violence, including having police patrols at problem schools.

This content was published on February 4, 2007 - 14:10

In an interview published on Sunday in the SonntagsZeitung newspaper, Blocher said that parents should also be made to take more responsibility for their children's behaviour.

The minister's comments to the German-speaking paper come after the alleged rape of a teenage girl by a group of youths in Zurich, as well as other cases of violence in different regions of the country, which shocked the Swiss public last year.

Blocher, who is a leading light of the rightwing Swiss People's Party, said that in his department a working group of people had been drawing up new measures against violence since December.

Last week a meeting of 30 people involved in youth issues also took place, added the minister.

Blocher said measures were needed because violence had increased and had become more brutal among young people. Alcohol also sometimes played a role, he said.

Punishments were not always working, leading to the schools and police becoming frustrated.

Police

Blocher said that if an offence was carried out in the playground, the police should be called. The minister could also foresee police patrols in the most problematic schools.

Violence prevention measures should also take place at schools, with a roles being given to specially trained people and the police, he added.

As for parents, Blocher said that they should take more responsibility for raising their children and not expect schools to do it for them.

"We are suffering from the late consequences of types of anti-authoritative upbringing," said Blocher.

Parents should therefore be fined if their children start fights or show disruptive behaviour.

Foreigners

"Parents should also be called to account: from damages being paid, to right up to the expulsion of the whole family for foreign children," said Blocher.

Figures and experience showed that a high percentage of the perpetrators had a "migration background", said Blocher, with many "from the Balkans".

These were mainly young people with identity problems, which led to feelings of insecurity, which were compensated through violence, added the justice minister.

These problems had to be talked about, without it being called racist, he said.

Blocher said although measures had already been toughened up for young people, there was still a need to act.

"First of all it is important that the problems come out into the open, this is the beginning of solving problems."

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The reputation of Swiss youngsters took a battering last year with several high profile allegations of rape involving youths.

A survey published last month showed that most Swiss were in favour of cracking down on youth violence.

However, it has not all been negative press. Zurich University research published last year found that young Swiss between the ages of six and 21 displayed emotional maturity and responsibility, despite a public perception of laziness and bad behaviour.

It was the first psychological and social survey of child and youth behaviour in Switzerland.

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