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In the context of overcrowded prisons that have been shown to be ineffective at reducing reoffending, policy makers face increasingly pressing questions about what works to reduce crime. Homicide and serious assault make up a relatively small proportion of all crime, yet they account for a disproportionate amount of the overall social, psychological and financial costs of crime. Violent crime is thus costly for individuals, governments and other public bodies and agencies involved in the prevention, prosecution and treatment of offending.

There is evidence that violent crime is a tractable problem. A previous RAND Europe report on Interventions to reduce anti-social behaviour and crime highlighted the effectiveness and cost-benefit of early interventions for preventing crime and offending. These findings hold true for violent crime as well. This report focuses on the potential for interventions at three main stages in the offending process: risk assessment, rehabilitation and management of violent offenders. There is much evidence about what works in rehabilitative measures for reducing reoffending such as cognitive behavioural therapies and multisystemic therapies. However, there is also evidence of effective and promising practice in communities with high rates of violent crime. The multifaceted nature of crime and violence requires similarly multifaceted multi-agency interventions that involve community residents in helping to resolve the problem of violence.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Contexts and factors associated with serious violent crime

  • Chapter Two

    Risk assessment

  • Chapter Three

    Effective interventions to reduce serious violent crime

  • Chapter Four

    Risk management, prevention and inter-agency coordination for reducing violent crime

  • Appendix A

    Methodology

  • Appendix B

    Additional relevant examples

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for the National Audit Office and was conducted by RAND Europe.

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