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Early intervention can prevent violence, says expert

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services
Friday, March 23, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - Youth workers in Inuvik got training this week in identifying threatening behaviour to help prevent youth violence.

Kevin Cameron, executive director of the Canadian Centre of Threat Assessment was in Inuvik this week to discuss the importance of recognizing warning signs of violence early.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Kevin Cameron was in Inuvik this week talking with a group of people who work in the schools and with youth about identifying possible threatening behaviour in youth. Cameron is the executive director of the Canadian Centre of Threat Assessment. - Dez Loreen/NNSL photo

Cameron said identifying signs and indicators of youth violence can help young people at risk from hurting themselves or others.

"The purpose of the presentation is to train multi-disciplinary teams to assess youth," said Cameron.

Cameron has worked with RCMP all across Canada.

Cameron said the program is based on one principle: that many kids who go on to commit major acts of violence show signs beforehand.

"It's been as blatant as telling people ahead of time of what they were actually going to do," said Cameron.

He spoke with people who work in schools, police officers, mental health professionals and people in child protection.

"After the training these people will be experts at collecting data and information that helps assess and intervene with these kids," he said.

Cameron said it is all about working together and sharing knowledge.

"A high school principal might get involved, not knowing about information that a counsellor has collected, and maybe the police have some information too," said Cameron.

"It all makes a bigger picture, maybe the youth is at risk or being violent.

"We call it connecting the dots."

Cameron said the missing link in information gathering is what he calls "multi-discipline threat assessment."

Cameron said he wants to see multiple teams formed in Inuvik to prevent violence.

"Each school should have their own administrator, counsellor and police officer involved," said Cameron.

Const. Tim Fifield was part of the audience at the presentation.

Fifield said he has been working to get Cameron to visit Inuvik for the past year.

"I am familiar with the program," said Fifield.

"I worked in Alberta before I came North and I did this training with Kevin."

Fifield said he wants to see more crime prevented by the identification of possible threats.

The two-day course also featured film clips of youth violence scenarios.