Our Outcomes Framework & Measures Database
We’ve identified the outcomes with the most potential to prevent children and young people becoming involved in crime and violence. And through our Measures Database, the best available tools to measure them.
The Youth Endowment Fund’s mission is to prevent children and young people becoming involved in violence. One of the ways we do this is by funding and evaluating projects to find out what works, for whom, when and why.
To understand if a project has an impact in the way that’s intended, we need to know which factors in children and young people’s lives it’s expected to change – these are commonly known as outcomes. We also need a reliable way of measuring any changes that occur.
More broadly, to make sure we build evidence through our evaluations – and wider research – that contributes to our mission, we need to know which outcomes have the potential to reduce the risk of children and young people becoming involved in crime and violence.
To do this, we’ve partnered with the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families to produce an Outcomes Framework and Measures Database.
Our Outcomes Framework
Our Outcomes Framework identifies the outcomes with the most potential to prevent children and young people becoming involved in crime and violence.
We know there are lots of things in a child or young person’s life that can influence their likelihood of becoming involved in crime and violence. To illustrate this, we’ve created a graphic to show how our selected outcomes are connected, and the varying influences of family, school, community and societal factors on children and young people’s development.
In our Outcomes Framework, we make distinctions between primary outcomes, secondary outcomes and contextual factors.
- Primary outcomes are the outcomes with the most potential to decrease young people’s likelihood of becoming involved in crime and violence. We use these to determine whether or not a YEF-funded intervention or programme is considered effective. Most of our evaluations will have just one primary outcome measure.
- Secondary outcomes provide useful information about the effect an intervention or programme has, and often helps us understand how a programme works. They typically have weaker evidence than primary outcomes or are more indirect in their relationship to youth crime and violence.
- Contextual factors refer to other important factors about a child or young person’s history or circumstances that help us to understand their individual needs and any changes in primary and secondary outcomes that might occur.
Building and maintaining relationships
Also called ‘social-emotional skills’.
Social and emotional skills that are helpful in relationships such as listening, cooperating and understanding others’ emotions as well as your own. This is sometimes referred to as ‘social-emotional skills’. Conflict resolution is also part of building and maintaining relationships.
Also called ‘externalising behaviours’.
A young person’s distress or needs expressed through behaviours that are generally categorised as disruptive and aggressive.
Youth justice stigma
The stigma of being involved and perceived as likely to be involved in the youth justice system, which narrows opportunities and resources for young people and may cement them on a pathway towards youth crime and violence rather than away from it.
Violence in the home
Also called ‘domestic violence’.
Witnessing or being the victim of violent or abusive behaviour in the home which can be physical, emotional, sexual or financial. Violence in the home may also be related to maltreatment and abuse, and in some cases bullying.
Stable provision of health, social care, financial, speech and language and education services
Also called ‘continuity of care’.
This refers to the provision of services that meet a person’s individual needs, enabling all children and young people to receive the necessary resources and opportunities to thrive.
An individual or group with greater power who coerces, manipulates or deceives a child or young person under 18 years old to engage in sexual activity; this may occur through physical contact or the use of technology. This coercion may take the form of providing something the child or young person wants, or it may be for the financial gain of those with greater power.
Viewing yourself positively, including confidence in your abilities, appearance and self-worth.
School provision of emotional health support
Schools can play an important role in identifying and supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Mental health approaches in schools are needed to ensure young people receive appropriate support; these may include whole-school approaches, training school staff and targeted mental health support.
School provision of education that meets different needs
It’s the school’s responsibility to provide inclusive education (e.g. special education provision) that enables children and young people with neurodevelopmental, emotional, physical and/or learning needs to receive effective education and training.
Also called ‘school climate’.
A positive whole-school culture encompasses emotional, relational and physical safety, as well as cultivates shared nurturing values. This environment fosters the wellbeing of children, young people, parents/carers and staff.
School engagement with parents/carers
Opportunities to involve parents and carers in a child or young person’s educational journey.
Contexts and circumstances that enable some children and young people to thrive despite experiencing difficult circumstances.
Regulating and managing emotions
Also called ‘emotion regulation’.
Having the skills and techniques to manage feelings and reactions to situations and events, reducing the intensity, duration, and impact of such feelings.
Racism and discrimination
Being treated differently because of one’s skin colour, ethnicity or nationality. It includes indirect and direct discrimination, and harassment. It also includes negative consequences experienced as a result of making a complaint about racism and discrimination.
Provision of activities that have a positive impact on people
Access to positive activities for children and young people in the community (e.g. youth centres, mobile services, art spaces, religious centres).
Positive and prosocial identity
Viewing yourself as someone who engages in positive and meaningful activities and not in non-criminal activities.
Parenting practices, often learnt from a parent/carer’s own experience of being a child, that are not appropriate for a certain situation. It includes harsh or inappropriate discipline, controlling behaviour, inconsistent parenting or low parental warmth.
Opportunities for education, employment and training
Opportunities for children and young people to thrive through education, employment or training.
Maltreatment and abuse
Experience of physical or emotional neglect, or physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
Joined up services
Also called ‘multisystemic collaboration’.
Professionals from a range of services working together to support children, young people and families to achieve positive outcomes (e.g. education, health, youth justice, social care).
Housing problems include for example overcrowding, temporary accommodation, residential mobility and unsafe/unsuitable housing conditions.
Positive wellbeing, enjoying things, and feeling good about yourself and your life.
Goals for the future
Setting meaningful personal goals for the future and having a plan for how to reach them.
Family relationships and support
Positive and supportive relationships with family members.
Frequent negative interactions with family members such as arguing, yelling or criticism. Also see ‘Violence in the home’.
Experience of potentially traumatic events
Experiencing or witnessing recent or ongoing distressing events that may lead to a lasting negative impact for some.
Persistent low mood, lack of pleasure and high levels of worry that occur for several weeks or months.
An individual or group with greater power who coerces, manipulates or deceives a child or young person under 18 years old to engage in criminal activity.
Feeling connected to one’s community can look like identifying as a member of the community, trusting others in the community, having personal needs met by the community and engaging in community activities.
Persistent worry, distress or restlessness, often accompanied by physical symptoms, that occur for several weeks or months.
Ability to resolve conflicts
Also called ‘conflict resolution’.
Having the skills and techniques to de-escalate situations and arguments with or between other people.
Victim of crime
Also called ‘criminal victimisation’.
Having experience, or being a victim of, different types of crime, including robbery, theft, vandalism, assault and kidnapping.
Also called ‘academic attainment / achievement’.
School progress as measured by standardised tests and grades.
Suspensions (fixed-term exclusion) or expulsions (permanent exclusion).
Students’ meaningful participation in and connection with their school and learning, teachers and staff and friends and peers.
Also called ‘school attendance and truancy’.
Amount of time being at school.
Having someone in your life who understands you and is there for you. Here, relationships are with people who want the best for you – someone who does not want you to be involved in criminal activities.
Also called ‘prosocial behaviours’.
Doing positive things for other people, such as helping and comforting them and sharing things with them.
Drug and alcohol use
Also called ‘substance misuse/abuse’.
Problematic use of drugs and/or alcohol that results in negative and harmful consequences to the self or others, such as impaired physical health, difficulties concentrating or skipping school.
Also called ‘delinquent peers’.
Having a close group of people who take part in and promote criminal behaviour – criminal behaviour may be an important part of the group’s identity.
Also called ‘bullying perpetration’.
Repeatedly directly harassing others verbally or physically, or repeatedly indirectly harassing others by isolating them, stealing from them, or destroying their property.
Criminal acts involving harm against another person that are often more traumatic for the victim (e.g. assault, robbery, homicide).
Sexually violent crime
There are many forms of sexually violent crimes that can take place in a range of settings. We focus on two forms of sexual violence most relevant to YEF programmes and the target age range of young people: sexual violence in a relationship and sexual harassment.
Behaviours that do not involve violence against another person (e.g. shoplifting, graffiti, using illegal drugs).
This level identifies the individual factors related to a young person’s experiences, knowledge, behaviours and skills.
Family & Relationships
This level looks at young people’s relationships with their family members, peers and intimate partners.
School & Employment
This level looks at children and young people’s engagement with school and employment.
This level refers to the community and social environment in which children and young people live. It includes the provision of services and support from statutory services, as well as other organisations.
This level looks at the larger, macro-level factors that impact children and young people’s lives, including cultural beliefs and norms about violence, as well as the social conditions that inhibit or encourage violence.
Contextual factors are things about a young person or their environment, which it may not be possible to change and therefore are not typically part of a programme’s objectives.
However, we believe programmes should have an understanding of young people’s contextual factors in order to see how they may affect change in primary or secondary outcomes. For example, if a young person’s educational needs are not identified, they may continue to be a barrier to achieving change in an outcome such as school engagement.
Example of contextual factors include: age; asylum seeker or refugee; community resources, gender; identification of needs; intergenerational disadvantage; intergenerational involvement in criminal activities; intergenerational trauma; neighbourhood safety; parenting or caring responsibilities; previous childhood trauma and adverse experiences; traumatic brain injury; and under state care.
How will it be used?
This Outcomes Framework will inform our work, and play a crucial role in ensuring that we commission high-quality evaluations. In each of our funding rounds, we’ll select a number of primary outcomes. We’ll use these to identify promising projects and measure their impact (based on the research questions we want the grant round to help us answer).
This Outcomes Framework is meant primarily for our evaluators . But it’s also a useful tool for projects applying for YEF funding and others organisations funding evaluations of the violence prevention programmes (for example, Police and Crime Commissioner’s Offices or Violence Reduction Units). It might also help others with an interest in youth violence prevention, including frontline workers, policy makers, researchers and academics.
Find out more
We’ve produced a guide to accompany our infographic. It includes the full list of outcomes and their definitions, along with more information about the methodology we used to select them. You can download it here:
Our Measures Database
Our Measures Database identifies the best available tools to measure the primary and secondary outcomes in our Outcomes Framework.
To evaluate a project against its intended outcomes, we need to ensure that appropriate measures are used to assess them. By appropriate, we mean measures that are user-friendly (so less prone to error and easy for research participants to complete) and that reliably measure what they are supposed to measure.
Given that lots of measures exist, researchers and practitioners may sometimes find it challenging to identify which is the most appropriate one to use to assess a particular outcome. We’ve created our measures database to help. By providing a selection of measures that have been thoroughly evaluated for their accessibility and psychometric quality, evaluators can make an informed decision about selecting the right outcome measure(s) for their project.
How will it be used?
We hope our Measures Database will be helpful for evaluators working with children and young people to track outcomes. Practically, we’ll use it to guide our evaluators’ choice of measures when designing evaluation, ensuring evaluations measuring the same outcomes are using the same measurement tools wherever possible.
Download our Measures Database
Find out more
We’ve produced the following guide to help you use our Measures Database.
You can read more about how we developed our Measures Database in this technical report.