Young people under the age of 25 – the majority (51.2 %) of the population in South Africa – are affected disproportionately by all types of violence. Youth have thus become a central focus of contemporary debates on crime and violence in South Africa. International and local literature identifies young people between the ages of 12 and 21 years as the age cohort most at risk of both criminal victimisation and offending. South Africa has in place promising legislation, policies and programmes to develop and support young people and protect their rights. These policy instruments provide a sound framework within which to address crime and violence in South Africa, but there remain gaps. The most obvious of these is the paucity of policy and legislation dealing with ‘adult youth’ over the age of 18, particularly in the crime and justice sector. The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) is mandated to guide and facilitate youth development programmes. It has well developed programmes to enhance young people’s employability. It is also expanding its focus to encompass social cohesion and could potentially play a key role in facilitating engagement on this issue.