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Published -
August 16, 2023
Evidence review

Place-based approaches to tackling local youth violence: A review of evidence on models, implementation and impacts

This report sets out the findings of a series of linked studies drawing together evidence about place-based approaches to reduce youth violence.

The project was commissioned by the Youth Endowment Fund to support our key strategic work using place-based approaches and undertaken by a research consortium consisting of the Centre for Evidence and Implementation, Monash University and the Violence Research Centre (University of Cambridge).

Alongside this, you’ll also find a review by the Centre for Evidence and Implementation which summarises approaches to evaluating place-based approaches.


Place-based approaches to tackling local youth violence: A review of evidence on models, implementation and impacts

  • There was variation in the theories underpinning place-based approaches (PBAs), and it was rare for a PBA to draw on a single theory.
  • Few interventions and activities identified across PBAs targeted the physical or built environment or addressed macro-level factors impact violence outcomes (e.g. poverty).
  • Strategies for building and sustaining multi-agency engagement were described, including devolving power, relationship building, communication, formal structures and agreements, assessing pre-existing dynamics, developing PBA visibility and identity, harnessing existing key relationships and structures, and considering sustainability.
  • The twenty studies presenting impact evaluations were mainly from the US and included one UK study.
  • Eleven studies reported on one or more violent behaviours as outcomes, the remainder measuring behaviours not representative of serious violence but indicating a pattern of aggressive or anti-social behaviour.
  • Overall, positive impacts were more evident when PBAs targeted serious youth violence, when they used multi-component approaches combining universal preventative activities and targeted interventions for young people already involved in violence, and when they incorporated coordinated efforts with local stakeholders.


Evaluating place-based approaches: a review of methods used

  • There is no single acceptable best practice approach to evaluating place-based approaches (PBAs), and there are debates about what should be prioritised in evaluation and about the role of different methods.
  • Implementation and process evaluation is of heightened importance in PBA work because of the complexity and evolving nature of PBA contexts, designs and activities.
  • Impact evaluation involves measuring change in intermediate and final outcomes, at multiple levels – typically for individuals, for targeted groups and for the community population, as well as in organisations and local systems.
  • The most rounded and full evaluations will involve bringing together multiple methods and approaches in hybrid designs.
  • The report summarises considerations guiding choice of methods and sets out 10 key messages for PBA evaluation.

More about the YEF’s place-based funding

Through our place-based grant rounds, we fund partnerships and collaborations working to prevent youth violence in targeted neighbourhoods of England and Wales. These rounds focus on finding the most effective ways local agencies can work together to identify and support children most at risk of becoming involved in violence.

Find out more below.

  • Place-based grant round

    Grant:Agency Collaboration Fund: A supportive home

    In the second grant round of our Agency Collaboration Fund, the theme will be family support. We plan to fund and evaluate multi-agency support projects for children at risk of extra-familial harm.
  • Place-based grant round

    Grant:Neighbourhood Fund

    The Neighbourhood Fund will test different models and approaches to community engagement to better understand how, where and why it can keep children safe from involvement in violence.