Aggression Replacement Training Enables Children in Conflict with the Law to “Dream Bigger!”

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Since 2016, the USAID/OECS Juvenile Justice Reform Project (JJRP) has facilitated the implementation of Aggression Replacement Training (ART®) across the OECS member states: Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  ART® is a cognitive-behavioral intervention to help children and adolescents improve social skill competence and moral reasoning, better manage anger, and reduce aggressive behavior.  From 2016 to 2020, JJRP facilitated 26 cycles of  ART® training sessions , as part of the many diversion and rehabilitation initiatives across the Eastern Caribbean, with approximately 215 children in conflict with the law participating.

Additionally, 11 people within the Eastern Caribbean were trained to be ART® Master Trainers, and are now certified to train group facilitators. With this development, each country can continue to deliver and sustain ART®.  In addition, master trainers have since trained 12 group facilitators.

Speaking on the impact of this training across the OECS, Senior Government Advisor in Antigua, Alethea Byers said, “This training has been invaluable as JJRP continues its efforts to implement several rehabilitation and diversion initiatives for youth in conflict with the law. With 23 practitioners trained in Art® across the OECS, we are assured that its impact will continue for current and future youth at risk within the OECS. We further anticipate that the master trainers and facilitators will continue to utilize ART® throughout their rehabilitation and diversion programming in the future.”

There are numerous success stories from ART®. One graduate from the Antigua ART® programme  shared, “I have been able to utilize the skills that I learned in ART® in my everyday life, and most particularly to manage my anger, which is how I used to get in a lot of trouble previously. It has really made me into a better person by helping me to make better life decisions, avoid fights and to set goals for my future. ART® has enabled me to dream bigger and to believe that I can achieve these goals. I plan to get a degree in law and business.”

About OECS/USAID Juvenile Justice Reform Project Phase II (JJRP)

The Juvenile Justice Reform Project (JJRP) Phase II, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and being implemented by the OECS Commission, deals specifically with children in conflict with the law and the provision of diversion, rehabilitation and reintegration mechanisms for assisting children in the six (6) OECS independent Member States of Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines Over the four years of JJRP Phase II, some key achievements include:

  • Child Justice legislation passed in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
  • A Legacy model and framework to guide the use of diversion, rehabilitation and reintegration has been developed and is being adopted in all of the countries.
  • Diversion and rehabilitation options being actively supported within partner countries.
  • Since 2016, 323 children have been diverted/given alternatives from arrest or custodial sentences, representing a more than 300% increase in the use of diversion.
  • 215 children in conflict with the law completed Aggression Replacement Training (ART®).
  • More than 1,400 service providers have been trained to improve the diversion, rehabilitation, and reintegration services provided to children in conflict with the law and their families.

For more information regarding the OECS/USAID Juvenile Justice Reform Project Contact: JJRP Office at the OECS Commission +758-455-6417 email: [email protected]

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