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Systematic review of youth crime prevention interventions
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Systematic review of youth crime prevention interventions

Published 2008-2012

This review centers on evaluations of youth crime prevention interventions published between 2008 and 2012. The aim of the review is to bring forward the newest information to supplement existing knowledge about crime preventive methods targeting youth.
The review lists 56 studies, all targeting 12-17 year olds, using experimental or quasi-experimental research designs and focusing on effects in terms of disruptive or criminal behavior. The review provides detailed descriptions of all identified studies, and the characteristics and effectiveness of the interventions is analyzed.
This report has been produced for TrygFonden and the Danish Crime Prevention Council TrygFonden and The Danish Crime Prevention Council have entered into an ambitious collaboration. The objective of this collaboration is to reduce crime and increase the feeling of security in Denmark by engaging citizens and creating new knowledge about crime and prevention that can strengthen crime prevention professionals in their work. The collaboration consists of nine projects and focuses on burglaries and home robberies, violence and vandalism in public spaces as well as sexual assaults among youth.

Summary:  Systematic review of youth crime prevention interventions. Published 2008-2012 

This systematic literature review was commissioned by the Danish Crime Prevention Council to supplement the existing knowledge base about youth crime prevention and provide useful information about implementation and effectiveness of known crime prevention initiatives. The review is one component of a larger project commenced by the Danish Crime Prevention Council to collect information about methods and implementation processes for youth crime prevention interventions. Within the scope of this project, a network of prevention ambassadors is being established across Danish municipalities and it is the hope of the Danish Crime Prevention Council that this systematic literature review can inform and qualify the work of these prevention ambassadors in their local prevention efforts.

We included primary, secondary and tertiary prevention interventions and analysed them according to their delivery modes splitting them into seven different types: individual interventions, family-based, group-based, or school-based interventions, community oriented or systems-oriented interventions or interventions with multiple delivery modes.

The greatest likelihood of positive intervention results was found for comprehensive interventions that aim to develop a more pro-social environment for target youth and that do not merely focus on individual-level factors such as cognition and behaviour management. The interventions that were most frequently successful were those with multiple delivery modes or delivered to the entire family. 63% and 57% of interventions with multiple delivery modes and family-based interventions respectively showed positive effects in terms of reducing disruptive or criminal behaviour. This is in comparison with a third or less of the school- or group-based interventions included in this review.

The review also found trends to suggest that interventions with durations of at least four to six months were more likely to be effective than shorter durations in reducing disruptive or criminal behaviour. At the same time, most interventions lasting over four months had multiple delivery modes and it is as such not possible to separate effects related to longer duration from effects related to a more comprehensive approach.

Also, interventions that appear to take a resource-oriented rather than a problem-focussed approach had a higher likelihood of success. This inference is tempered by the unverified assessment of approach and the fact that only few problem-focussed interventions were included in the review.

The systematic literature review reveals that very few quality evaluations using a control-group design have been conducted in a European let alone a Nordic setting. The vast majority of included interventions are from the United States. Due to the differences in juvenile justice systems and target group characteristics generally, translation of findings from the U.S. to the Danish context is problematic. As an example of this, an intervention such as Multisystemic Therapy (MST) which is one of the blueprints for violence prevention in the U.S. (showing sustained effects and successful replication across study sites) was not found to be better than usual services when implemented in Sweden.

Recently evaluated youth crime prevention interventions distin-guish only broadly between different types of youth offenders and youth with problem behaviour. Very few interventions target for instance ethnic minorities, girls or youth with specific risk characteristics. Similarly, the interventions identified in this review do not, for the most part, expressly recognize youth offending as group behaviour, though this is the case for the majority of youth offending in Denmark.

Seventy-two studies (incl. journal articles, dissertations, book chapters and reports) published between 2008 and 2012 were identified through a systematic literature search conducted for this review. Selected studies used using experimental or quasi-experimental research designs targeting 12-17 year olds and focusing on effects in terms of disruptive or criminal behaviour. Fifty-six studies were of adequate quality to allow a plausible inference of causality between intervention implementation and evaluation findings. These form the basis for the analysis of intervention characteristics and intervention effectiveness across preventive levels and intervention delivery modes.

Forfattere Celie Manuel
Anne-Marie Klint Jørgensen
Udgivelsesdato 01.03.2013
Udgiver SFI - Det Nationale Forskningscenter for Velfærd
Sprog Engelsk
ISSN 1396-1810
E-ISBN 978-87-7119-161-5
Sidetal 312
Publikationsnr. 13:11

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DIREKTE 33 48 08 85 E-MAIL mcd@vive.dk

Denne publikation hører under Børn, unge og familie, Samfund og sammenhængskraft, Udsatte grupper
emneord: Børn og unge, Udsatte børn og unge, Kriminalitet, Marginalisering, Familiebaggrund, Social arv

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