Home Office / ADR UK Feasibility Study Lead Academic

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Bristol Medical School

Abstract

Rates of serious violent crime in England and Wales have been increasing since 2014. Although these offences account for only around 1% of total crime, they cause disproportionate harm to individuals and society as a whole. Because of this, tackling serious violence is a UK Government and police priority. It is increasingly recognised that violence is preventable and that the most effective ways to prevent violent crime are not directly related to the policing or criminal justice systems. New strategies aimed at reducing violence seek to tackle upstream risk factors, thus preventing the development of offending behaviour among young people. However, there is currently little evidence regarding what types of intervention are effective. A total of £200 million has been granted to the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) over the next 10 years to support early interventions; evaluation of these interventions is an integral part of the programme.

In order to generate high quality evidence, rigorous evaluation of interventions is crucial. There are two key issues that will impact on the quality of such evaluations. Firstly, there is a need for valid, reliable data sources - that measure outcomes prior to and after the intervention has been implemented. Ideally, the data would include both short-term and long-term outcomes. Secondly, it is important to have a well-matched comparison group. Without this, it is difficult to draw any clear conclusions about the effect of the intervention because any changes in rates of offending could arise as a result of other factors (i.e. may not be due to the intervention itself). With this in mind, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Department for Education (DfE) are linking key national datasets, bringing together data from the criminal justice system, including police, prison, and court records, with data from the education system, such as school attainment, absence and exclusions. The linked dataset will contain around 15 years' of data on around 20 million individuals and will have the potential to form a resource to allow robust evaluation of YEF and other interventions.

This study has two main elements. In the first stage we will evaluate and document the quality and scope of the MoJ-DfE linked dataset. In the second stage we will investigate the feasibility of using the linked dataset to generate matched control groups for the purpose of evaluating interventions aimed at reducing offending rates in young people; we will compare two different statistical approaches to doing this.

Our findings will inform the future development and use of the dataset.

Publications

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