25 September 2017 Safe to Learn?
- Communities and Public Spaces
Communities and Public Spaces
Despite the extent of violence in cities and among youth, there is surprisingly little policy work or research on associated strategies for violence prevention and reduction. Indeed, 'community-level violence prevention' is often described in general terms. The focus tends to be on inequality de-concentration, targeting at-risk youth with vocational programmes, or temporary restrictions on alcohol and firearms. And while these may be effective, there is comparatively limited guidance on prioritising or sequencing interventions and targeting those most at risk. What is more, guidelines seldom specify how the impact of these strategies would vary in different conditions, or how these may be aligned with other prevention programmes offered within a community setting. The evidence on what works in fragile low and medium income urban settings, where the incidence of community-level violence is likely to be higher, is sparse.
Through a series of commissioned papers and regional meetings this Learning Group has prepared structured reviews of current evidence on community-level risk factors and prevention strategies from around the worldwhich discuss challenges to programme implementation, adaptation and sustainability, particularly in violent, fragile cities. It has two primary aims and related questions: (1) to determine the drivers of violence in fragile low and medium income urban settings; and (2) to review evidence-based prevention strategies that are feasible in fragile low- and medium-income urban settings and comprehensive prevention models.
How will the work of Learning Group 3 build on the current state of the field?
A number of recent global reports have synthesised what we know about violence in childhood. These reports have been extremely important in drawing attention to the problem globally; however, they typically suggest broad areas of risk and prevention without offering specific guidelines for programmes and policies. At the community level, most of these reports emphasise general investments such as reducing poverty and inequality while addressing the gendered dimension of violence prevention or providing enhanced community services for families, without detailed guidelines that specify mechanisms of impact or provide direction for targeted interventions under different conditions, particularly the more extreme conditions that characterise high-burden and fragile cities.
There also are many individual research studies and programme evaluations examining the impact of specific programmes on preventing youth violence, gang violence, and street violence. Although there is a growing database beyond western, higher-income countries, it still is the case that most programmes have been evaluated in higher-income countries – and may not be feasible, acceptable, or sustainable in more distressed settings, conflict-affected countries, high burden and fragile cities, or across different cultures or contexts. In addition, there has not been a systematic effort worldwide to synthesise findings from relevant studies. Very little work has focussed on identifying the core elements of effective community interventions that can facilitate implementation under varied and less advantaged conditions; how programmes should be integrated to build an effective violence prevention system at the community level; and which sectors should take the lead. Decision-makers in high burden contexts would benefit from guidelines to help them better allocate resources, order their interventions and anticipate disruptive factors.
Learning Group 3 comprises an interdisciplinary team of scholars and practitioners from around the world with relevant research and practice expertise in community-level violence prevention in urban settings, who will attempt to fill these gaps. These scholars aim to provide a careful understanding of risk factors, causal mechanisms and evidence-based strategies that shape violence in childhood in fragile cities. To do so, they will explore what are/are not fragile cities/urban settings, what are the key community-level drivers/risks, and how are these drivers/risks linked to various types of violence and underlying causal mechanisms in urban contexts.
In addition, these scholars will undertake reviews that will highlight core elements, mechanisms of change, and moderators of impact, and indicate how these can be integrated into a comprehensive violence prevention system. Here the focus will be on examining "community-level" prevention strategies as well as prevention programmes (universal, selected, and indicated) delivered in community settings, to bring a greater understanding about "what works" and "what should work." Specifically, the following key questions will be explored: (i) what kinds of strategies, programmes and projects are underway addressing community risks of violence against and by children in fragile low-/medium-income urban settings or relevant for implementation in these settings; (ii) what are their implementation requirements; (iii) what is the evidence of success/impact of these intervention strategies by themselves and as part of a comprehensive effort, and (iv) what regional/national/subnational dynamics affect planning, readiness, implementation, impact and sustainability of these interventions.
In sum, the effort of the Learning Group will be to address how to prioritise programmes and develop integrated service delivery models that leverage multi-sector programming, particularly under conditions of resource scarcity. The Learning Group will also commission a complementary set of research case studies of initiatives in LMICs that illustrate effective leadership and demonstrated successes. Although the focus of the Learning Group will be global, it will highlight challenges and solutions in the Latin America/Caribbean region, where youth and gang violence are major concerns, and the problem of fragile cities is growing.
The following 10 papers have been produced under the Learning Group reflecting on the aforementioned aims:
- Abt, T. 2017. “Towards a comprehensive framework for preventing community violence among youth.” Psychology, Health & Medicine 22(S1): 266–85.
- Carbonari, F., A. Willman and R. Sérgio de Lima. 2017. “Learning from Latin America: Policy Trends of Crime Decline in 10 Cities Across the Region”. Background paper. Ending Violence in Childhood Global Report 2017. Know Violence in Childhood. New Delhi, India.
- Cid, A. 2017. “Interventions using Regular Activities to Engage High-risk School-age Youth: A Review of After-school Programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean.” Background paper. Ending Violence in Childhood Global Report 2017. Know Violence in Childhood. New Delhi, India.
- Esquivel, V. and A. Kaufmann. 2017. “Gender Dimensions of Violent Urban Contexts: Bridging the Gaps in Theory and Policy.” Background paper. Ending Violence in Childhood Global Report 2017. Know Violence in Childhood. New Delhi, India.
- Garzón-Vergara, J.C. 2017. “Children Trapped in Fragile Cities: Communities, Organised Crime and the Rule of Law.” Background paper. Ending Violence in Childhood Global Report 2017. Know Violence in Childhood. New Delhi, India.
- Guerra, N., N. Shadowen, G. Reyes and R. Serrano-Berthet. 2017. “Community Readiness for Youth Violence Prevention: The Youth Violence Prevention Readiness and Needs Scale (YVP-RNS).” Background paper. Ending Violence in Childhood Global Report 2017. Know Violence in Childhood. New Delhi, India.
- Muggah, R. 2017. “Measuring Fragility in Cities.” Background paper. Ending Violence in Childhood Global Report 2017. Know Violence in Childhood. New Delhi, India.
- Ransford, C. and G. Slutkin. 2017. “Seeing and Treating Violence as a Health Issue.” Background paper. Ending Violence in Childhood Global Report 2017. Know Violence in Childhood. New Delhi, India.
- Villaveces, A. 2017. “Access to Means such as Alcohol, Drugs and Firearms, and Built Environment Characteristics: Implications for Cities with High Rates of Violence.” Background paper. Ending Violence in Childhood Global Report 2017. Know Violence in Childhood. New Delhi, India.
- Wex, B., M. Bulger and P. Burton. 2017. “Online Violence in Schools: Beyond Cyberbullying.” Background paper. Ending Violence in Childhood Global Report 2017. Know Violence in Childhood. New Delhi, India.