Participatory Research: What Helps Young People Stop Offending? University of Central Lancashire (2013)

Summary: Research conducted by the university of central Lancashire which explores what children think would support them on their desistence journey.  



HMI Probation (2011) found that that not enough attention has been given to the planning, delivery, and evaluation of interventions that tackle offending behaviour suggesting that Youth Offending Teams need to access and make more use of information about what works in making interventions more effective and that better case planning is needed, together with training and development for practitioners. There is very little evidence of why particular interventions work and also a need for high quality research on ‘offenders’ views on what helped or hindered them in giving up crime’ (Sapouna 2011: 43). This research therefore aimed to:

  • build on existing understanding of what works in reducing reoffending
  • conduct participatory research to explore the relevance of these studies in the context of the lived experiences of children in contact with YOT;
  • understand from children’s perspectives why particular interventions may work;
  • make recommendations regarding YOT practice as appropriate.

The research was carried out by Cath Larkins and John Wainwright at The Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation at the University of Central Lancashire School of Social Work.

A literature review was presented to a core group of four children in custody. They reflected on the themes in existing research and their own experience. They then developed participatory research activities. The researchers conducted these activities with a further 46 children in contact with YOT. The research will be followed by an action planning process to consider how any strategic developments emerging from report might be implemented. Findings are presented in the report attached.