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Published -
June 8, 2022
Research

Systems Evidence and Gap Map

The Systems Evidence and Gap Map is part of a joint research project, run by the Youth Endowment Fund and Department for Education.

Summary


  • The Systems Evidence and Gap Map (EGM) is the largest repository of evidence of its kind. It’s here to help you navigate research on different systems of support that are available to children and families in the UK and Ireland and how they might protect (or expose) children and young people to violence.
  • Our Systems EGM suggests that we can have a good level of confidence in the studies in our map. However, the majority of papers did not outline researcher’s own bias. Encouraging study authors to acknowledge the way their experiences and identities affect their research design and analysis can improve our confidence in study findings.
  • In our Systems EGM we found many studies examining the criminal justice systems, the social care system and which contain multi-sector insights. However, it also suggests there is an opportunity to further summarise learning about systems of support, as there are comparatively few literature reviews.
  • The EGM shows that there are numerous studies that shed light on young people or families access or engage with systems of support. However, relatively few papers included findings that explained the way young people and their families navigated throughout or between different systems, for example being referred to children’s social care by a youth work offending team.
  • The Systems EGM is part of the Department for Education (DfE) and Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) Serious Violence Research Programme, which aims to better understand children and families’ journeys through different systems of support, and the different qualities of the experiences along the way. That’s because we want to know how these systems might protect or expose children and young people to involvement in serious youth violence. We recognise that the Systems EGM is a quite a technical resource, which means it’s most useful to researchers, analysts and other people with research experience. That’s why, as part of our joint programme, we’ll produce literature reviews, that will summarise the studies in the Systems EGM in an accessible way.

The Systems Evidence and Gap Map (EGM) includes over 400 studies and is here to help you find research on different systems of support that are available to children and families in the UK and Ireland (like education, health, social care or community support), and how they might protect (or expose) children and young people to violence.

About our partnership

Our Systems EGM is part of a wider partnership between YEF and the Department for Education. Together, we’re working on a the DfE-YEF Serious Violence Research Programme which aims to better understand how a person’s journey through different systems of support, and the different qualities of the experiences along the way, might protect or expose them to involvement in serious youth violence.

What the Systems EGM tells us

The sample of studies (400 out of 1,160 eligible papers) in our Systems EGM tell us that:

  • That our sample of the evidence base is of good quality, though recognition of researcher’s own bias wasn’t consistently acknowledged within studies in the map.
  • The majority of papers featured content on the ‘crime and justice system’ (61%), social care system (42%) and multi-sector insights (39%).

The Systems EGM also found some possible gaps in the research evidence:

  • In general, we found few literature reviews (just 7% of total papers), suggesting that not much work has been undertaken to summarise the existing literature.
  • Only 3% of the total papers in the map were dedicated to co-production. Of these studies only one was a high or medium quality evaluation and none were high or medium quality reviews. This suggests a gap in our knowledge about co-production approaches to reducing young people’s involvement in violence.
  • Very few papers discussed Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) (less than 1%), which may suggest a gap in the literature about the role of VRUs. Though this is expected since VRUs were established in 2019 in England and Wales, this does not take away from the suggestion that future research examining VRUs could be useful.
  • Studies that broke down their findings by gender or race were very limited.
  • Compared to the themes of access to and engagement with systems of support (which both featured in 48% of the papers), few papers included an investigation of the way young people and their families navigated through different systems (22%).
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