The VOICE action is a cross-sectorial cooperation project addressing issues concerning young people deprived of their liberty and from disadvantaged backgrounds. The overall goal is to make young adult offenders’ voice being heard at European level by increasing their knowledge about EU policies relevant to the youth field. The action aims to support the implementation of the new EU Youth Strategy (2019-27) and proposes the development of a set of tools, a bottomup approach and a peer-led methodology to foster the empowerment and engagement of young people in custody in EU policies. Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme, under the coordination of the European Education and Culture Executive Agency.
The VOICE action will also arrange Youth Dialogue meetings (with key stakeholders and policy makers) and youth mobilities gathering young people from Portugal, Lithuania, Spain, Romania, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Italy. Policy recommendations will also be drafted entailing provisions on how to unlock the voice of young adult offenders’ and promote their participation in what concerns EU policy activities relevant to the youth field.
VOICE specifically aims to:
1. Develop and implement a strategy from the ground up, supported from the top by all the partner organisations, to promote the representation of the voice of young people that are deprived of their liberty in the EU youth policies;
2. Place the voices of young adult people deprived of their liberty together with other young people’s voices in the centre of the policies and strategies that concern them, namely EU policies;
3. Empower young people that are deprived of their liberty by creating awareness of their role at community level, enabling them to participate in community affairs and discover that they are capable of ‘making a difference’;
4. Create trust and safe environments for young adults that are both at risk of committing crimes / deprived of their liberty, and by doing so, enhancing their sense of belonging and solidarity;
5. Create immediate responses to mitigate the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on violent extremist recruitment and radicalisation, namely on young people in contact with the Criminal Justice System.
6. Engage key stakeholders in the field (prison authorities, Universities, civil society organisations, schools, policy makers…) in a process of developing a way forward to respond to the gap of the lack of visibility of young people deprived of their liberty at the centre of the policies that concern them.