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Violence Research Centre


Prof David Farrington OBE, Emeritus Professor of Psychological Criminology at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, and Dr Hannah Gaffney, Research Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, teamed up with the Campbell Collaboration to conduct a review of research evidence on existing approaches to prevent youth violence on behalf of the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF).

On 28 June 2021, YEF launched their new Toolkit, a free, easy-to-use digital instrument that aims to help police forces, local authorities, youth charities, school leaders and other stakeholders to select the most effective initiatives and programmes to support and protect at-risk children.

Many programmes and interventions are available, but it’s difficult to ascertain which ones are effective. Knowledge can also be hard to access, hidden behind paywalls of academic journals or buried in complex websites. Language can be a barrier, some reports are not written in Plain English, using professional jargon that makes them inaccessible.

The Toolkit summarises the best research evidence on the different initiatives to prevent youth violence. This first version, which will be updated every six months, provides insights into the impact of 13 different approaches, with more to be added in the future.  

Dr Hannah Gaffney, Research Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, commented: "It has been a privilege to work on this project with Professor David Farrington and colleagues from the Campbell Collaboration and the Youth Endowment Fund. This toolkit truly is a step in the right direction to better our efforts to reduce and prevent youth violence, and will be an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to learn about, implement or commission evidence-based programmes with young people." 

On the occasion of the launch, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “One of the most difficult things about my job as Home Secretary is meeting and comforting the families ripped apart by to the scourge of knife crime and serious violence. It makes me all the more determined to cut crime and make our streets safer by tackling serious violence at its roots. It is vital that all parts of the public sector work together to protect young people from harm and give them the opportunity and freedom to succeed, and the Youth Endowment Fund is an important part of our investment to tackle this problem and help save young lives.”

Jon Yates, Executive Director of the Youth Endowment Fund, commented: “The YEF Toolkit comes at an important moment. As the restrictions we’ve all been living through start to lift, many of us are worried that we’ll see an increase in violence in our communities. We need to make sure that doesn’t happen. The Toolkit is here to help make sure that we’re investing in services that prevent violence. I’d encourage schools to use the Toolkit to invest in making sure children develop social skills. I want to see local authorities use it to help shape the support that families get, so that every child gets to grow up in a supportive home. By working together, we can make sure that no child becomes involved in violence.”


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