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Community Violence Exposure and Conduct Problems in Children and Adolescents with Conduct Disorder and Healthy Controls

Research ARTICLE

Front. Behav. Neurosci., 06 November 2017

Exposure to community violence through witnessing or being directly victimized has been associated with conduct problems in a range of studies. However, the relationship between community violence exposure (CVE) and conduct problems has never been studied separately in healthy individuals and individuals with conduct disorder (CD). Therefore, it is not clear whether the association between CVE and conduct problems is due to confounding factors, because those with high conduct problems also tend to live in more violent neighborhoods, i.e., an ecological fallacy. Hence, the aim of the present study was: (1) to investigate whether the association between recent CVE and current conduct problems holds true for healthy controls as well as adolescents with a diagnosis of CD; (2) to examine whether the association is stable in both groups when including effects of aggression subtypes (proactive/reactive aggression), age, gender, site and socioeconomic status (SES); and (3) to test whether proactive or reactive aggression mediate the link between CVE and conduct problems. Data from 1178 children and adolescents (62% female; 44% CD) aged between 9 years and 18 years from seven European countries were analyzed. Conduct problems were assessed using the Kiddie-Schedule of Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia diagnostic interview. Information about CVE and aggression subtypes was obtained using self-report questionnaires (Social and Health Assessment and Reactive-Proactive aggression Questionnaire (RPQ), respectively). The association between witnessing community violence and conduct problems was significant in both groups (adolescents with CD and healthy controls). The association was also stable after examining the mediating effects of aggression subtypes while including moderating effects of age, gender and SES and controlling for effects of site in both groups. There were no clear differences between the groups in the strength of the association between witnessing violence and conduct problems. However, we found evidence for a ceiling effect, i.e., individuals with very high levels of conduct problems could not show a further increase if exposed to CVE and vice versa. Results indicate that there was no evidence for an ecological fallacy being the primary cause of the association, i.e., CVE must be considered a valid risk factor in the etiology of CD.

AIC report: Police detainee perspectives on police body-worn cameras

New research from Emmeline Taylor, Murray Lee, Matthew Willis and Alexandra Gannoni is now available.


Surveillance technologies have been playing an increasingly significant role in crime control. As part of this development, recent years have seen the introduction of police bodyworn cameras (BWCs) in many countries.

Despite the costs involved in purchasing equipment and storing the large amounts of data generated, there is a dearth of evidence to support their mainstream use as part of law enforcement activities.

There remains little understanding about the impact and effectiveness of BWCs, and less still on how the police, members of the public and, importantly, arrestees perceive and experience the cameras.

In this study, 899 adult police detainees were interviewed about their perceptions and experiences of police BWCs through an addendum to the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program.

Findings suggest that police detainees in Australia are largely supportive of the use of police BWCs, but this was predicated on a number of operational and procedural requirements. The findings have implications for the use of BWCs as an everyday part of policing apparatus.

Digitally mediated domestic violence

Domestic violence survivors can be abused, monitored and controlled through a host of techniques and digital technologies, says QUT Associate Professor Molly Dragiewicz. "Surveillance, identity theft and intrusion are increasingly emerging as challenges for victims, advocates and support services," she said. Professor Molly Dragiewicz and Dr Bridget Harris, criminologists in QUT's School of Justice, are embarking on a study of domestic [...]

UNICEF: A Familiar Face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents

This report presents the most current data on four specific forms of violence – violent discipline and exposure to domestic abuse during early childhood; violence at school; violent deaths among adolescents; and sexual violence in childhood and adolescence. The statistics reveal that children experience violence across all stages of childhood, in diverse settings, and often at the hands of the trusted individuals with whom they interact daily. The report concludes with specific national actions and strategies that UNICEF has embraced to prevent and respond to violence against children.


Price:Free Publication

date: November 2017


Public Safety Canada: Research Summary "Programme de suivi intensif de Montréal – Gangs de rue [Montreal Intensive Supervision Program – Street Gangs]

Background The Programme de suivi intensif de Montréal – Gangs de rue (PSI-MTL/GDR) [Montreal Intensive Supervision Program – Street Gangs] was implemented in Montreal from 2009 to 2014 with 138 male offenders and 4 female offenders  aged 15 to 25 who were involved in criminal street gang activity and at a high risk of recidivism, or who were at risk of experiencing crimes associated with street gangs. The program, which was inspired by the Community-Wide Approach to Gang Prevention, Intervention, and Suppression (Spergel et al., 1994), was intended to progressively align treatment principles between different partners and circulate information among stakeholders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Treatment areas for the program included monitoring, supervision, assistance, and referrals for young people. An evaluation measured the impact of the PSI-MTL/GDR on offending behaviours and criminogenic risks, social integration, and the level of youth engagement in street gangs. A descriptive analysis of program costs was also carried out.

CEP:Effective practice: the past, present and future of probation research

During the Third World Congress in Tokyo, Peter Raynor, Professor at Swansea University, held a presentation about the history, present and future of effective practice.

An article by Peter Raynor.

From early optimism to ‘nothing works’

Since researchers first began looking seriously at probation and its effects, the pendulum has swung between optimism and pessimism. This article aims totrack and explain these movements, and to argue that we now know enough to enter a new period of realism, in which the question is not so much whether probation can be effective (we know it can), but how, with what support and in what policy contexts that effectiveness can be made real.

The origins of probation itself go back to the nineteenth century, but probation as we know it, as a public service provided within the criminal justice system, is largely a product of the twentieth century, and research on the impact of probation began in the 1950s. At that time, criminologists made largely positive statements: Manuel Lopez-Rey, the head of the United Nations Social Defence Section, wrote ‘If I were asked which, among the modern methods for the treatment of offenders is the most promising, without hesitation I would say: Probation’ (Lopez-Rey 1957). For the criminologist Max Grünhut (1952) the essential elements of probation were ‘conditional suspension of punishment, and personal care and supervision by a court welfare officer’.

During the 1960s probation, like other forms of social work, expanded in Europe, the United States and many other countries, alongside the general increase in state-provided welfare services. Its effectiveness was largely taken for granted, and this was still more or less the situation when I joined the Probation Service in England in 1970. However, within a very few years this era of optimism came to an end: serious research on both sides of the Atlantic began to raise questions about whether probation was doing any good at all. The major American review reported (and somewhat exaggerated) by Robert Martinson in 1974 gave us ‘very little reason to hope that we have in fact found a sure way of reducing recidivism through rehabilitation’, and a series of studies in the UK contributed to similarly pessimistic conclusions. For example, the UK Government’s ‘IMPACT’ study published in 1976 showed that probationers receiving intensive services on smaller caseloads did no better (actually slightly, but not significantly worse) than those supervised on normal caseloads. These and similar studies came to be summed up as ‘nothing works’, which remained the widespread orthodox view until the 1990s. It was, of course, popular with some politicians who were looking for reasons to reduce public expenditure. Using social science to evaluate probation At this point we need to think about social science and evaluation methods. Social-scientific service evaluation depends largely on three processes, which can be described as understanding, measurement and comparison. In our field, we need to understand what people are doing and how they are trying to do it; we need to measure effects, and crucially we need to compare those effects with what happens to other similar people receiving different services or inputs, or none. Early studies of probation, such as that by Leon Radzinowicz in 1958, reached optimistic conclusions by measuring outcomes but making no relevant comparisons with the results of other sentences. If such comparisons were included probation did not do so well, and first offenders actually reoffended more on probation than if they were fined. The ‘nothing works’ researchers knew about the need for measurement and relevant comparisons, but did not adequately understand or describe the work actually done by probation officers. They left it as what Jim Bonta in Canada has called the ‘black box’ of supervision. Measuring outputs without understanding inputs leaves open the possibility that there is a mixture of good and bad practice, which means that any good effects from the good practice are likely to be cancelled out by the bad practice, so that researchers will find no overall positive impact – and this is what they found. Detailed study of what practitioners were actually doing, and of the results of different practices, did not become generally available in criminal justice until the 1990s and they led in due course to a new era of optimism and to attempts in many countries to implement ‘what works’.

AIC: Police techniques for investigating serious violent crime: A systematic review

New research from Angela Higginson, Elizabeth Eggins and Lorraine Mazerolle is now available.


Police use a variety of techniques in their investigation of serious violent crimes, such as homicide, robbery, assault and sexual assault. This paper systematically reviews experimental and quasiexperimental research on the effectiveness of these investigative techniques. Meta-analysis was used to combine effect sizes across multiple studies examining the same technique, crime and outcome.

Eighteen studies on 10 broad categories of investigative techniques were identified, with the largest number of studies examining specialised investigative techniques for sexual assault and the collection or testing of DNA and other physical evidence. While there were some promising findings, findings were mixed and, in some areas, there is limited evidence on which to draw strong conclusions.

Given the significant investment of police resources in the investigation of serious violent crime, the results highlight the need for more methodologically rigorous empirical research on both new and established investigative techniques available to law enforcement.

Fleeing Conflict—Trajectories of Displaced Persons

On 3 November 2016,

BICC hosted its annual International Academic Conference, focussing this year on the pressing global issue of internal displacement and refugee movements. Almost 65 million people are currently displaced worldwide, most of whom have been displaced for more than five years. Entitled “Fleeing Conflict—Trajectories of Displaced Persons”, the conference brought together academics from around the world to present and discuss conceptual and empirical research on the causes, consequences of and solutions for forced migration in current conflicts and displacement settings.

In his welcome address, Thomas Grünewald, State Secretary at the Ministry for Innovation, Science and Research of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia stressed the importance of innovative research on displacement and integration. Unlike some of the discourse in this field, the conference focussed on the issue of displacement from the perspective of the displaced themselves, highlighting their agency in the sometimes cyclical and often interrupted processes of departure, transit and arrival. Three consecutive panels were convened, beginning with scholarly presentations on the “Causes and Conditions of Displacement”, “(Interrupted) Transit and Forced Immobility” and finally, “Durable Solutions for Protracted Displacement”. A concluding panel summarized some of the key points of the day, including the need for more political solutions that target the root causes, and not only the consequences, of protracted displacement.

The conference was generously funded by the Foundation for International Dialogue of the Savings Bank in Bonn and the US Consulate General in Düsseldorf.

Professional Certificate in Tackling Human Trafficking

27th November - 1st December 2017, London

UK Human trafficking is a $150-billion-a-year industry and is the world's fastest growing criminal enterprise, with an estimated 27 million victims. Tackling human trafficking has become a critical focus of the international community, as the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda has called for action to be taken urgently to "end modern slavery and human trafficking". Human trafficking is a $150-billion-a-year industry and is the world's fastest growing criminal enterprise, with an estimated 27 million victims. Tackling human trafficking has become a critical focus of the international community, as the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda has called for action to be taken urgently to "end modern slavery and human trafficking".

SVRI, IC and What Works Joint Webinar: Being Heard - Involving children and young people in participatory research on sexual violence - challenges and

Friday, December 1, 2017 - 11:00

Join us to hear Dr Silvie Bovarnick and Dr Helen Beckett from the ‘International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking’ at the University of Bedfordshire in the UK, talking about why and how we should engage children and young people in participatory research on sexual violence.

The ‘Being Heard’ project, a collaboration between the Sexual Violence Research Initiative and the International Centre, seeks to promote the ethical, meaningful and participatory involvement of children and young people in sexual violence research. As part of the project, a global scoping was undertaken to review international evidence on youth engagement in participatory research on sexual violence. Sharing emerging findings from the scoping, as well as other related research findings, the session will discuss some of the key barriers, risks, benefits and common ethical issues associated with this work. It will also share practical reflections on how we might meaningfully and ethically involve children and young people in participatory research on sensitive topics. This session aims to help participants to think about some of the practical, ethical and methodological issues associated with youth involvement in participatory research on sensitive issues. There will be a space for you to share some of your experiences, to ask questions and to reflect on some of the practical, ethical and methodological challenges associated with the participatory involvement of children and young people in different stages of the research process.

Who should attend the session?

This session is intended for all working in the field of violence research who are interested in using participatory approaches to involving children and young people in research on sensitive issues. We encourage researchers and practitioners to attend.

UNODC, UN volunteers help Niger process 230 terrorism cases in 60 days

With the assistance of UNODC and United Nations volunteers, Niger has processed 230 cases involving terrorism suspects, including 11 women and 25 children, in 60 days. Amid growing terrorist threats posed by various armed groups such as Boko Haram, Niger established a legal framework in 2011, enabling stronger responses through a criminal law reform and the creation of a judicial unit specialized in counterterrorism.

UNODC hosts world premiere of 'Trafficked', spotlights global human trafficking

UNODC hosts world premiere of 'Trafficked', spotlights global human trafficking Lights, Camera, Action! United Nations Headquarters in New York was the backdrop for a prestigious red-carpet premiere of the movie 'Trafficked', a searing human trafficking drama inspired by true events. Hosted by UNODC, the movie premiered at a packed ECOSOC Chamber with distinguished attendees from Governments, civil society organizations, and the arts and media community.

UNODC and Crime Stoppers International cement efforts to tackle organized crime in the Americas

Transnational organized crime groups, often funded by proceeds of criminal activities, exploit gaps in law enforcement to create new markets and expand their operations. To enhance international cooperation against transnational organized crime and to improve citizen security, UNODC keeps strengthening ties with crucial partners and participated at the 38th Annual Conference of Crime Stoppers International held in Panama City, Panama.