to the Research
- The Toward Reconciliation
and Inclusion Project was a youth initiative, designed by young people
and hosted by Derry Youth and Community Workshop between April 2003
and December 2005, which sought to quantitatively and qualitatively
uncover some of the most common contemporary concerns facing young
people in these areas. The city of Derry, split by the River Foyle
and very much separated into Protestant and Catholic areas, is characterised
by economic decline, deprivation, poverty, and sectarian violence.
900 self-report questionnaires were circulated under supervision around
DCCD areas. The participants were all aged between 16 and 25 years.
A total of 486 usable questionnaires were returned. All DCCD areas
were included, with a representative sample from each district compared
to population in each age category.
- Fifty-one percent
of respondents were male and 49% were female. The majority affiliated
themselves with either the Catholic (65%) or Protestant (27%) communities.
The split of the sexes within the Catholic and Protestant community
categories was relatively even.
- Young people
had varied feelings about their experiences whether they had left
school early or not. While some did have positive feelings, many suffered
from feelings of regret and inadequacy at school. Parents had encouraged
many to leave school to pursue a trade, with the majority of these
coming from backgrounds where their families had not pursued further
education. Some candidates felt they had been academically 'left behind'
percent of the sample reported having left school; 32% of these early.
Only 21% of the young people considered themselves still in school.
The most popular reasons for leaving school early were 'just wanting
to leave'; 'being bored; and 'being expelled'. 79% of those that left
school reported attending a governmental training scheme or noted
that they remained unemployed.
- 63% of young
people were satisfied with living in the DCCD areas. However, only
35% stated that they would like to live there all their lives; 64%
stated 'maybe' or 'no'. The most common reason for dissatisfaction
was that 'it's boring here' (31%). 27% listed foreign destinations
that they would prefer to visit for a year or so or to which to emigrate.
22% felt that NI was simply not a nice place to live, while 21% would
'like to move anywhere other than here'. Only 50% of Protestants compared
to 71% of Catholics 'liked living in the city'.
- 56% of young
people found the city and its surroundings 'just alright', while 20%
found it 'fun and exciting'. Young people became less content as they
grew older. The three most popular recreational activities in the
city were going to dance clubs, going to pubs, and hanging out on
the street with friends.
- Young people
in general felt dissatisfied with the amount of organised sporting
activities available to them. Only 28% participated in sport on a
regular basis. 39% of males stated that they regularly participated
in organised sport compared to 17% of females.
- Only 14% of the
sample reported having a driving licence, although 36% reported driving
without a licence at some point. 23% reported that they had taken
an automobile or been in a car as a joyrider. More males (26%) than
females (20%) reported their involvement in joyriding. Joyriding was
also found to be a current activity with the highest percentage of
participants being 18 years and under.
- Forty of the
486 respondents reported that they had never taken a drink and 77
had never tried a drug. Only 21 reported being completely drug and
alcohol free. 92% of the sample reported that they drink or have drunk
alcohol, with little difference between the sexes.
- The most frequently
reported ages for getting tipsy or drunk for the first time were 13,
14, 15 and 16. Of those under 16s, the average mean consumption for
those who 'drank to get drunk' on a night out was 12.74 units; 15.83
for 16-18 year olds; and 17.35 for 19-21 year olds.
- Binge drinking
patterns became steeper among those aged 19-24.
- When asked if
they drank too much, many did not think so. When asked to consider
what they drank after having listed it in the survey, 37% altered
their opinions. The key signs to excessive drinking were 'passing
out', 'not remembering what had happened' and 'vomiting'.
products were the most frequently currently used drugs (61% of sample),
followed by methamphetamines (40%), and ecstasy (32%). Young women
were more experimental, with higher percentages in the one time use
categories. Protestant users generally experimented with more drugs
on a one time basis, while Catholics exhibited more occasional and
everyday use of some selected drugs.
- 52% reported
previous use of cannabis, with 42% of this figure being 10-15 years
old at the time. Inhalants were the second most popular substance
used in the past (36% of sample), with 79% of this use reported between
the ages of 10 and 15. Ecstasy came third in this list (35%), mostly
between 16-21 year olds.
- 55% of those
currently using drugs obtain them from a friend, followed by a dealer,
several dealers, paramilitaries, and family members.
- 63% reported
that young people took drugs because 'they want to', followed by 'to
chill out', 'for the excitement of it', and 'the only thing to do
- The three most
common forms of contact with police personnel were: 'I was stopped
and questioned', 'I was asked to move on', and 'they searched me'.
Significant variations occurred between Catholic and Protestant respondents
with regard to certain responses.
- 62% had had
their names written in police notebooks as a warning, and 20% had
been formally charged or arrested. 329 reported some form of general
contact with the police; 68% of whom reported improper contact with
the police. Those aged 22 and over generally reported the highest
frequencies of improper contact.
- Opinions regarding
improvement in the police force since they became the PSNI were unsure
to rather negative, and similar in both communities. 30% of Catholic
and 31% of Protestant respondents agreed that the police were there
to protect them.
- 10% of the sample
would consider joining the PSNI (13% of Protestants and 8% of Catholics).
· 63% of respondents did not know the role of the Police Ombudsman.
- 70% of respondents
did not know what restorative justice was.
- 42% of respondents
reported that paramilitaries should look out for their own communities
and 32% felt paramilitaries should punish antisocial behaviour. 51%
of the former and 34% of the latter group were young people aged 18
years and under. Personal networks were preferred in relation to justice
- 43% of respondents
found the city pleasant; 51% found it neither pleasant nor unpleasant;
and only 6% found it unpleasant during the day. More Catholics (52%)
than Protestants (24%) felt this.
- In terms of
during the day, 27% found the city 'safe', 61% found it neither safe
nor dangerous, and 12% found it dangerous. 34% of Catholics and 10%
of Protestants felt the city was safe during the day.
- After dark,
21% found the city pleasant, 44% found it neither pleasant nor unpleasant,
and 35% found it unpleasant. Of those thinking it was unpleasant,
32% were Catholic and 42% were Protestant.
- Only 7% felt
that the city was 'safe' after dark; 29% felt it was neither safe
nor dangerous; and 65% stated the city was dangerous.
- 47% of the sample
had engaged in 'fist fighting', 39% in acts 'involving pushing and
shoving', 39% in acts involving 'kicking', and 27% in incidents involving
weaponry. 57% had been involved in incidents using 'threatening words'
and 42% in incidents involving 'threatening looks and glances'.
- 72% of respondents
felt most threatened 'outside pubs and clubs', with a further 45%
feeling most threatened 'inside pubs and clubs'. 'Crossing through
housing estates of the opposite community was the third most threatening
- 61% felt that
'a lot' of sectarianism exists in DCCD areas, 31% felt there was 'some
sectarianism' and 2% that there was 'no sectarianism'.
- 39% reported
experiencing something sectarian through 'threatening words', 26%
through 'physical contact', and 26% through 'physical threat'. More
Protestants than Catholics reported subjective experiences of sectarianism.
- Catholic respondents
defined and viewed the Troubles as more a thing of the past, while
Protestants spoke of them more subjectively and in the present.
and differences were found between and among young men and women,
young people from each community, and young people from different
age brackets. Young people most often voiced that they 'did normal
things' and the questionnaire should cover these aspects of their
everyday 'normal' lives.
- The survey revealed
that many young people saw behaviours such as early drinking, binge
drinking, experimenting with drugs, going to pubs, sectarianism and
paramilitary punishments as normal in their world. They did, however,
believe that many things, including their own behaviour, should change.
- To change what
young people consider normal requires change across the whole of society,
with re-education for all people, not just the young. Dialogue needs
to continue with young people and their views need to be heard.
- Further recommendations
are made throughout the course of the report, including such topics
as further research, campaigns, programmes and initiatives.