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Violence Research Centre



Past Conferences, Symposia and Workshops


2019 Symposium - The Real Gold Standard: Measuring Counterfactual Worlds That Matter Most to Policy

What research evidence do we need to inform policy about what works? Are experiments the ‘Gold Standard’ for establishing causal effects that matter for important policy goals in education, welfare, prevention and policing?

Order of talks
Welcome and Introductions: Prof Loraine Gelsthorpe, Prof Manuel Eisner, Dr Paolo Campana, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, UK. Speakers (in order of appearance): Prof Daniel Nagin, Carnegie Mellon University, USA & Prof Robert Sampson, Harvard University, USA; Prof Lawrence Sherman, University of Cambridge, UK; Prof Anna Vignoles, University of Cambridge, UK; Prof Manuel Eisner, University of Cambridge, UK; Prof Susanne Karstedt, Department of Criminology, Griffith University, Australia.

Watch this space for a video of the talks and the speakers' slides.


Evidence for Better Lives Conference 2018

Evidence for Better Lives: Cohort Studies as a Vehicle for Improving Global Child Psychosocial Health

For some time, the United Kingdom has played a world-leading role in the design, implementation, and analysis of cohort studies: studies that follow individuals over several years to understand factors that influence health, wealth, and happiness. Cohort studies that examine children’s emotional, physical and psychosocial development are valuable for understanding risk and resilience factors that influence how to best support healthy child development. They can hence be extremely important in informing policy-making in areas related to prevention and intervention.

In this seminar we invited representatives from three major UK-based cohort studies to provide an overview of their studies, the design and research questions, the ways in which the studies have linked research and policy, and the ways in which the findings have effectively helped to support policies related to child’s health and wellbeing.


Evidence for Better Lives Conference & Workshop 2017

The 2017 EBLS conference provided an overview of the results of the Evidence for Better Lives' feasibility study. It introduced the participating sites and partner teams and outlined the contributions that EBLS can make to research. It was followed by a  two-day workshop for the site teams and the research consortium to discuss issues such as project management, scientific innovation, data collection and policy impact strategies.


Evidence for Better Lives Workshop 2015

Each year millions of people across the world are the victims of violent acts such as physical and psychological maltreatment, sexual abuse, bullying and assault that result in trauma, injury or death. There is an in urgent need for better knowledge about the causes of violence and how it can be prevented. In particular, there is a pressing need to understand the ways in which we can most effectively intervene early in the life course to tackle victimization and perpetration risk from the very beginning of life. “Evidence for Better Lives” proposes a global, trans-disciplinary research, training and prevention programme with the overarching goal of contributing to violence reduction on a global scale. The workshop will bring creative minds around a table to start planning a developmental science mega-project: A cohort study starting at birth or pregnancy, with 6-8 sites across the world in different cultures, adopting a bio-social framework, broadly focusing on healthy child development, and possibly combined with one or several interventions.

“Evidence for Better Lives” would be the most ambitious violence reduction programme to date, with the goals of understanding the forces that shape human aggression and cooperation in different cultures, achieving an effective worldwide reduction of violence, and promoting productive lives amongst disadvantaged young people across the globe. By bringing together a group of talented researchers from different cultures in a cross-cultural collaborative project, the study will support a shared global commitment to violence reduction. By including a training initiative for doctoral students and young academics from low and middle income countries, we will create a next generation of experts with the skills needed to facilitate violence reduction in their countries.


Keeping Kids in School - Alternatives to School Exclusion Conference 2015

The aim of the conference was to situate exclusionary policies in a broader context of available policies to deal with "problem" children, for the benefit of teachers, parents, policy makers and wider society. Excluded children and young people face greater problems in later life which not only makes their lives difficult, but is also costly for society in terms of social and financial costs. This conference was part of a collaborative research project conducted by the Violence Research Centre, the charity Catch22 and the Greater London Authority. The research project, the London Education and Inclusion Project (LEIP), is a cluster randomised controlled trial of a 12-week-long intervention. It evaluates the Engage in Education – London (EiE-L) programme, delivered by Catch22. The programme works with young people in years 9 and 10 of secondary school who are most at risk of school exclusion to develop communication and broader social-behavioural skills with the goal to reduce problem behaviours. The conference highlighted the need for further rigorous research in the UK context with the aim to better support practitioners in understanding and managing issues of pupils' problem behaviours in schools.


Global Violence Reduction Conference 2014

Is it possible to cut worldwide levels of interpersonal violence in half within the coming 30 years? This question was at the centre of the first Global Violence Reduction Conference 2014, jointly organised by the University of Cambridge and the World Health Organization. The conference lured experts out of their comfort zone, asking to reflect on big strategies to reduce violence by 50% in the next 30 years. It brought together 150 leading representatives from international organisations, academia, civil society institutions and philanthropic organisations to discuss how scientific knowledge can contribute to the advancement of this violence reduction goal. The main message of the conference was that a global violence reduction by 50% in the next 30 years is achievable if policy makers harness the power of scientific evidence on violence reduction. The Global Violence Reduction Conference provided an academic complement to the WHO's "Milestones in a Global Campaign for Violence Prevention" meetings with the aim to review the recent policy progress and define targets for the Global Violence Prevention Field. The experts identified the existing knowledge and developed a number of key policy recommendations to support the goals of the Global Violence Prevention Field. The conference findings and policy recommendations are summarised in the report "Global Strategies to Reduce Violence: Findings from the WHO and University of Cambridge Global Violence Reduction Conference 2014".