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Search Result: 47 Records found
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School-based programs to reduce bullying and victimization
  • Authors David Farrington, Maria Ttofi
  • Published date 2009-12-15
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice, Education
  • Type of document Review User abstract
  • See the full review
  • English

    Anti-bullying programs work

    Bullying is becoming an ever more pressing issue for schools, daycare centers, politicians and the public. Everyone agrees that bullying is a serious problem and initiatives are urgently called for to stamp it out. A new systematic review from the Campbell Collaboration has studied the effects of anti-bullying programs in schools. The conclusion is that programs generally work and bullying is reduced on average by around 20%.

    Children bully and are bullied

    Victims of bullying may be harmed physically as well as psychologically, and the consequences may be long-lasting. Therefore, bullying has increasingly become a worldwide topic of public concern and for research. This is evident in the number of studies on bullying, which has risen markedly over the past 20 years. The researchers behind this systematic review wanted to know if anti-bullying programs are effective, and what elements of an anti-bullying program can predict the reduction in bullying?

    Bullying as a concept

    There are many definitions of bullying. In this context bullying is defined as physical, verbal or psychological attack or intimidation that is intended to cause fear or harm to the victim. There is an imbalance of power, either psychological or physical, where the more powerful child oppresses the less powerful child. Bullying involves repeated incidents between the same children over a prolonged period. Bullying can occur in school or on the way to or from school.

    Programs do work

    The systematic review concludes that school-based anti-bullying programs are generally effective in reducing bullying and victimization. On average, bullying decreased by 20% – 23% and victimization decreased by 17% – 20%.

    Parents are important

    Sharing information with parents is an key element of any anti-bullying program. Information is often given in parent-teacher meetings at the school about the school’s strategy towards bullying. The researchers recommend that future anti-bullying programs should focus beyond the school itself; the focus should also be directed at parents.

    Other elements of anti-bullying programs that are found to be effective are:

    • Punitive and non-punitive disciplinary methods
    • Improved playground and schoolyard supervision
    • Technology, such as films about bullying and computer games to raise students’ awareness and knowledge about bullying

    Involving peers in conflict resolution is associated with a significant increase in victimization in the studies examined.

    Focus on older children

    The systematic review also focuses on how anti-bullying programs work in relation to different age groups. The older the students are when the anti-bullying program is implemented, the better it works.

    Duration and intensity are crucial

    Results of the analysis show that a good program is intensive and long-lasting. The duration (number of days) and intensity (number of hours) of training teachers to deal with bullying are directly linked to the decrease in bullying and victimization. The same applies for the children. The duration and intensity of the program for children are positively related to the reduction of bullying and victimization.

    New anti-bullying programs

    The researchers recommend that new anti-bullying programs are developed with inspiration from existing successful programs, and should be modified to include the most effective elements. Furthermore, the researchers recommend that new anti-bullying programs go beyond the scope of the schoolyard and that the family be more included in the effort to reduce bullying.

    The researchers believe that future anti-bullying initiatives should bring together leading experts, so all their expertise can be used in the fight against bullying. Furthermore, the systematic review clearly states that future evaluations should measure the children’s situation before and after an anti-bullying program. This should apply to the experimental group as well as the control group to get the most accurate results possible. Finally, the researchers suggest that cost-benefit analyses of anti-bullying programs should be carried out to investigate how much money is saved by having less bullying compared to the costs of the programs.

    Facts about the review

    The researchers behind the systematic review found a total of 89 reports of sufficient quality to be included in the systematic review. The 89 reports describe 53 different studies. However, nine studies did not provide enough data to allow the calculation of an effect size and were, therefore, not included in the final meta-analysis. The overall analysis is therefore based on a total of 44 studies. The 44 different studies were carried out between 1983 and mid-2009 and came from 16 different countries. The included studies were either randomized controlled trials, quazi-randomized trials, age-cohort studies or other controlled studies. The researchers behind the systematic review stress that the various designs all have advantages and problems.

    This article was written by Anne-Sofie Due Knudsen

Effects of drug substitution programs on offending among drug addicts
  • Authors Nicole Egli, Miriam Pina, Pernille Skovbo Christensen, Marcelo Aebi, Martin Killias
  • Published date 2009-08-27
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review
  • See the full review
Interventions for children, youth and parents to prevent and reduce cyber abuse
  • Authors Faye Mishna, Charlene Cook, Robert MacFadden, Michael Saini, Meng-Jia Wu
  • Published date 2009-06-05
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review
  • See the full review
The effectiveness of Neighborhood Watch
  • Authors Trevor Bennett, David Farrington, Katy Holloway
  • Published date 2008-12-31
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review User abstract
  • See the full review
Effects of closed circuit television surveillance on crime
  • Authors Brandon Welsh, David Farrington
  • Published date 2008-12-02
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review
  • English

    Closed circuit television (CCTV) as a crime prevention tool

    CCTV surveillance has a modest effect on personal property crime but not on levels of violent crime. CCTV can be effective in reducing crime in car parks.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effects of closed circuit television (CCTV) on property crime and violent crime. The review reports on whether using CCTV results in crime displacement, and also assesses whether using CCTV leads to the spread of crime prevention benefits. The authors found 44 evaluations. The studies were from the United Kingdom, the USA, Canada, Norway and Sweden. Most of the studies (34) were from the UK.

    What is the review about?

    The use of closed circuit television (CCTV) surveillance is increasingly common in public spaces. A common justification for using CCTVs is that it reduces crime by deterring potential offenders. CCTV surveillance may alert police and security personnel quickly so they intervene more rapidly. CCTV surveillance may help to make people feel safer and more secure.

    CCTV, however, is expensive. In the UK, it is estimated that between 1992-2002, more than £250 million of public money was spent on CCTV. This form of surveillance is the most heavily funded crime prevention measure outside the country’s criminal justice system.

    This review summarizes the evidence on the effects of CCTV surveillance cameras on crime in public spaces. The review examines which settings and conditions CCTV is most effective in, and whether the use of CCTV prevents crime overall or displaces it elsewhere.

    What studies were included?

    The systematic review included studies which investigate the effects of CCTV on property crime and violent crime. Studies including other interventions are included only if CCTV surveillance was the primary intervention. All studies have before-and-after measures of crime and compared an experimental area in which the intervention was used, with a control area in which it was not.

    The review summarizes 44 studies. The majority of the evaluations were conducted in four main settings: city and town centres, public transport, public housing, and car parks. In addition, two studies were conducted in residential areas, and one in a hospital. The majority of studies are from the UK (36). The other countries included are the USA (5), and Canada, Norway, and Sweden (1 each).

    How effective is CCTV in reducing crime?

    CCTV has a modest impact on crime. Effectiveness varies across settings. Surveillance is more effective at preventing crime in car parks, and less effective in city and town centers, public housing, and public transport. CCTV appears most effective in car parks at reducing vehicle crimes such as thefts from cars or stealing cars. The effectiveness of CCTV surveillance is greater when camera coverage of an area is high.

    CCTV surveillance does not have an effect on levels of violent crime.

    In all six of the CCTV car park studies, CCTV surveillance was an element in a broader package of crime prevention measures, such as extra security guards, better lighting, and fencing. It is not possible to assess the independent effects of each of these different components.

    The available evidence does not allow a conclusion as to whether CCTV leads to a displacement of crime or a diffusion of crime prevention benefits to other areas.

    What are the research and policy implications of this review?

    Implications for policy- and decision-makers CCTV can be a useful tool for reducing thefts from vehicles or thefts of vehicles in car parks. CCTV is less useful as a crime prevention tool in other settings. A more targeted, context-specific approach to the use of CCTV is therefore appropriate. CCTV is not an effective tool for preventing violent crime.

    Research implications

    There is a need to investigate further (1) why CCTV surveillance works in some settings but not in others, (2) whether CCTV reduces crime or shifts it elsewhere, and (3) longer follow-up periods as to whether crime reduction benefits are sustained over time.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The search was completed in April 2007. This Campbell Systematic Review was published on 2 December 2008.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

  • Records available in English, Spanish
Effects of second responder programs on repeat incidents of family abuse
  • Authors Robert C. Davis, David Weisburd, Bruce Taylor
  • Published date 2008-11-03
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review User abstract
  • See the full review
Effects of improved street lighting on crime
  • Authors Brandon Welsh, David Farrington
  • Published date 2008-09-25
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review User abstract
  • See the full review
  • English

    See the light! Street lights prevent crime

    There is an alternative to increased surveillance as a means of preventing crime in public space. The solution is closer than we think: improved street lighting. A new Cambell systematic review shows that improved street lighting reduces crimes by 21 percent. Furthermore, improved street lighting even reduces daytime crime. Researchers believe the improvement in crime rates happens because better lighting is a sign of an orderly neighbourhood; a neighbourhood where people call the police if they see a crime.

    Street lights prevent crime

    When the sun sets, streets are much easier to use if there is street lighting. Street lighting is essential for people who want to go from A to B after dark.

    However, street lighting is about more than merely making it easier to use streets at night. Street lighting is also about helping people feel safe: in areas with much crime, improved street lighting can abate the problem. A new Cambell systematic review finds that improved street lighting reduces crime by 21 percent in experimental areas compared to comparable areas with no street lighting improvements.

    At the same time, researchers point out another remarkable result, namely that improved street lighting reduces daytime crime.

    Why does improved street lighting work - even during daytime?

    Most of us are familiar with feeling insecure in dark places. Street lighting makes us feel safer, because we can see other people who, like ourselves, are out at night, and they can see us. The fact that others can see us, if we were to be confronted by an offender, increases our feeling of safety. Moreover, we expect criminals to avoid potential crime scenes, if there is a high probability of being caught. Finally, street lighting increases the feeling of safety because more law-abiding citizens use the streets at night. When there are more people in the streets, we perform natural surveillance of each other.

    Is it, however, only the increased natural surveillance that causes the decreases in crimes? Not according to the authors of the review. If natural surveillance were the sole cause of the reduction in crime, this reduction would only be evident in nighttime crime. However, daytime crime is also reduced.

    Community pride

    Researchers therefore believe that improved street lighting is also efficacious because it increases the feeling of pride, and thereby also informal social control in the neighbourhood.

    The theory is that when local government chooses to improve conditions in our neighbourhood, for example through improved street lighting, they send a signal that they care about us. This might lead us to have a more positive image of our neighbourhood, and our neighbourhood will moreover appear better cared for. This in turn strengthens community cohesion and pride. When we become more proud of the place we live, we also become more observant of each other on an everyday basis. We feel that public space belongs to us all. We develop a greater sense of responsibility and this leads to more social control and reduced night-time and daytime crime in the neighbourhood.

    What have researchers studied?

    The systematic review is based on high-quality evaluation studies that examine whether crime in public space (e.g. burglary, violent assault, theft and street robbery) is reduced when street lighting is improved. The review specifies that improved street lighting has a positive effect on reductions in burglaries and thefts, however not in violent crimes.

    Thirteen studies were included in the review: eight US studies and five UK studies. The review shows that the positive effect of improved street lighting has been greater in the UK than in the US. All of the studies concentrate on the isolated crime-prevention effect of street lighting – and nothing else. This means that the fall of 21 percent in crime rates does not stem from combined interventions, e.g. street lighting and video surveillance, or street lighting and improved playgrounds.

    See the light!

    The overall final conclusion of researchers is that improved street lighting is an effective means of preventing crime. The financial costs can be recouped through savings from reduced crime, and there seems to be no immediate negative consequences for society – on the contrary.

    Improved street lighting benefits the entire neighbourhood, not just individual citizens. Lighting improvements are not an infringement of civil rights but improves the general feeling of safety and ensures greater public street use in neighbourhoods at night time.

Court-mandated interventions for individuals convicted of domestic violence
  • Authors Lynette Feder, Sabrina Austin, David Wilson
  • Published date 2008-08-30
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review User abstract
  • See the full review
  • English

    Court-mandated treatment does not bring an end to domestic violence

    Domestic violence often results in court-mandated treatment. However, the most reliable current research cannot document that court-mandated treatment prevents further domestic assaults.

    Domestic violence is a widespread and serious problem

    The world health organization WHO assesses that domestic violence is the most common form of violence against women. Women who are exposed to domestic violence suffer serious mental and physical injury. Moreover, this violence may have a number of negative repercussions for the children in the home. Therefore, there is a large demand for programs that can prevent the violence and any repeated episodes.

    Mandated treatment

    In efforts to stamp out the violence, it has become a widespread practice in the USA and several European countries to sentence the violent partner to a court-mandated treatment program. This may be part of the requirements of a release on parole or a conditional discharge sentence. The treatment consists of group sessions with dialogue and therapy aimed at teaching offenders to take responsibility for their violent actions, deal with their rage and ultimately change their behavior. The purpose is to prevent repeated assaults.

    In court-mandated treatment the violent partner is legally obligated to undergo treatment. Treatment programs based on voluntary participation may suffer large dropout rates. Thus courtmandated treatment programs provide a method for ensuring that violence offenders remain in the treatment program. Additionally, court-mandated treatment programs also serve as an alternative to imprisonment and in this way can relieve pressure on overcrowded prisons.

    Doubts about the effectiveness of court-mandated treatments

    A new Campbell Review has examined the effect of ordering violent partners to undergo treatment. The researchers summarized the best studies in this area and analyzed whether court-mandated treatments prevent repeated assaults. The conclusion is that the current evidence raises doubts about effectiveness of court-mandated treatment in reducing the probability of repeated domestic violence. Existing research can therefore not guarantee that court-mandated treatments actually do more good than harm. The Review emphasizes that even though there is an acute need for methods to stop and prevent repeated violence, forcing the violent offender to undergo treatment might not result in positive effects.

    About the review

    All studies conducted between 1986 and 2003 that examine the effect of court mandated treatments were searched for in the review. The researchers’ conclusions are based on ten studies that were assessed to be of sufficient high quality. The studies are all carried out in the USA and include a total of 3.614 participants. The participants are adult men, 18 years and older who have been sentenced for committing violence against their partner. This may be violence committed against current or former spouses, cohabiters or violence between dating couples.

    The violent offender participates in group sessions, from 8 to 32 therapy sessions distributed over a one year period. Therapy is either based on a psychoeducational or cognitive behavioral approach. Psychoeducation focuses on increasing the batterer’s understanding of violence and its implications, teaching the male batterer to take responsibility, solve conflicts and learn to deal with their rage. Cognitive behavioral therapy mainly focuses on changing thought patterns and convictions that lead to the violent behavior.

    All ten studies compare two groups: A group that is given a court-mandated treatment and a comparison group which is given an alternative sentence. 5 of the studies are experimental (RCT).The alternative sentence may consist of a conditional discharge without requirement to undergo treatment or an order to do community service. In the studies the two groups are compared in relation to the number of repeated police reports, arrests for violence and the victim’s own assessment of whether their partner’s violent behavior continues. The findings showed a small positive effect when official measures of repeat violence were examined but no effect when victim reports of repeat violence were used. The inconsistency in findings across measures and the greater credibility of the victim based data raise serious concerns about the effectiveness of these programs.

Benefit-cost analyses of sentencing
  • Authors Cynthia McDougall, Mark A. Cohen, Amanda Perry, Raymond Swaray
  • Published date 2008-08-27
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review
  • See the full review
Effects of early family/parent training programs on anti-social behavior and delinquency
  • Authors Alex R. Piquero, David P. Farrington, Brandon C. Welsh, Richard Tremblay, Wesley G. Jennings
  • Published date 2008-08-27
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review User abstract
  • See the full review
  • English

    "Little trouble-makers" can be helped

    Family/parent training programs can provide parents with tools to raise their children. This can help them deal with children's behavior problems. The programs prevent later antisocial behavior and delinquency in children and they have a positive influence in later life in areas such as partnerships, education and work. This has been documented by a Campbell Review of the most solid international research results.

    Behavior Problems increase risks of later delinquency

    When young children hit or terrorize their comrades, or exhibit other behavior problems, early intervention is vital. "Little trouble-makers" are at greater risk of developing into "big trouble-makers".

    Research indicates that young children with problem behavior are more likely to end in a life of crime than other children. They also have several additional problems later in adolescence and adulthood. For example they will have more difficulties at school and they will find it harder to achieve educational qualifications than other young people. They are also more exposed to unemployment and are more likely to have problems in partnerships. As research also indicates that it becomes more difficult to change these children’s behavior as time passes, early prevention has received great political and professional interest.

    The majority of youth crime is committed by a hard core of young people. The police and probation services are aware of them, and they are very resource demanding for society. These are the youths it is important to try and get hold of while they are still just "little trouble-makers". In recent years, therefore, many countries have started using family/parent training programs in an attempt to prevent delinquency and youth crime.

    Family/parent training programs are aimed at parents of children with behavior problems and aggressive behavior. There are programs for children of all ages, but this review concentrates on programs for parents of children between 0 and 5 years old.

    The aim of the programs is to enhance and develop parents' ability to be parents for their children. Alternatively psychological or other professional treatment of the child with problems could be applied, but in applying family/parent training programs, the focus is on the parents rather than the children. The goal is to improve parents' abilities to build a good relationship with their child and to raise their child well. More specifically, training parents involves being better at interacting with their child, praising, setting limits and being consistent in their parenting and discipline.

    A better relationship between parents and the child helps the child control impulsive, oppositional and aggressive behavior. In the most successful cases the child stops being a "little trouble-maker" altogether. If problem behavior is mitigated in early childhood, the child will experience fewer problems in adolescence and adulthood with a smaller risk that the "little trouble-maker" develops into a "big trouble-maker".

    Family/parent training programs mean fewer behavior problems

    The review indicates that family/parent training programs are effective. Children from families who received training cope much better than children from families who did not receive training. In the families who did not take part in the family/parent training program, 5 out of 10 children continued to exhibit problem behavior after completion of treatment. On the other hand, only 3 out of 10 continued to have problems in families who did take part in the program. Therefore, family/parent training programs help reduce the number of "little trouble-makers" and in doing so, in the long term, the number of "big trouble-makers". At the same time, the Review also shows that for some the children, behavior problems disappear over the life course anyway, without any preventive efforts.

    Family/parent training programs

    Many different types of family/parent training programs are included in the studies. They all share the common objective to improve parents' competencies regarding their children and thereby improve their children’s behavior. Parent training is carried out by professional therapists and can either take place at a private clinic, at school or at a municipal facility. Training can be either individual or group based.

    Although the programs have the same overall objective, they have different ways of tackling the problem. The most common family/parent training program is The Incredible Years. The program was developed in the US, and therapists make much use of video recordings in their work with parents. Two other common programs are the Triple P - Positive Parenting Program and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Triple P was developed in Australia and its main characteristic is that the scope of the program is adjusted according to the scope of the family’s problems. PCIT was also developed in the US and it differs from the two other programs in that the therapist guides the parents directly during their interaction with the child.

    A few of the studies involved home visitation by a nurse, doctor or paraprofessional. Visits commenced during pregnancy or while the child was still a baby and comprised advice on managing the child’s behavior. The Review found no differences between the effect of home visits and the other family/parent training programs, i.e. they are equally effective.

    About the review

    There are 55 different studies in the review covering a total of almost 10,000 children under 5 years old. The studies come from throughout the world, including the US, the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand and China. The studies cover more than 30 years, the oldest being published in 1976, and the most recent in 2008.

    All the studies were randomized controlled experiments which compared a group who took part in a family/parent training program with a control group. The children in the control group were usually put on a waiting list to take part in the family/parent training program at a later date. This is a widespread and good method of making solid assessments of promising programs. On the one hand the randomization ensures that the effects can be measured, while on the other hand the waiting list

    ensures that the children in the control group are not, in the long term, excluded from taking part in the program once the effects have been documented. The results have been gathered using questionnaires on the behavior of the children, answered by parents, teachers or independent observers. Many different standardized questionnaires were used. The most commonly used was the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory (ECBI).

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