Academic journal article Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice

Good Practice Lessons from Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards Winners

Academic journal article Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice

Good Practice Lessons from Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards Winners

Article excerpt

Implementing effective crime prevention strategies relies on practitioners having access to information that helps them know how best to implement interventions. Generating the required information for practitioners starts with documenting how existing crime prevention projects operate, not just documenting whether a project is effective (Bullock & Ekblom 2010). This information can enable practitioners to improve the way they implement projects (Homel 2010). However, relatively few research studies examine in detail the implementation process of crime prevention projects.

Existing crime prevention awards programs, such as the Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards (ACVPA), provide a potentially valuable source of material for identifying good implementation practice from which universal lessons can be drawn. This paper provides the results of an initial attempt to identify good practice lessons from such projects.

Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards

Since 1992, the annual ACVPA have been recognising good practice and innovation in crime prevention in primarily community-led initiatives, but also for law enforcement and other government-led projects. The awards are sponsored by the heads of Australian governments and members of the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management-Police as a joint Australian Government and state and territory initiative. Each year, non-government projects that receive a national or state/territory award are also eligible for monetary awards from a funding pool of $130,000 across a number of categories. Nominated projects can be any size and scope, and can be submitted by government or non-government agencies. Individuals can also be nominated for an award, including those working together in partnerships with others. The projects are assessed each year by the ACVPA Board, which comprises representatives from each Australian jurisdiction and is chaired by the Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology.

Winning projects are selected based on six key factors:

* Has the project prevented or reduced violence or other types of crime, or does the project strongly indicate the capacity to prevent or reduce violence or other types of crime?

* How well is the success of the project measured?

* How suitable is the project for replicating/ adapting elsewhere?

* How lasting are the outcomes likely to be?

* How innovative or otherwise special is the project?

* How well does the project raise community awareness of the issue? The most heavily weighted factor is the success of the project in reducing or preventing crime.

Between 1998 and 201 1 , there have been 43 national winners, 315 state winners (plus 2 joint state winners) and 208 other state meritorious projects. In addition to these, eight national police awards, eight national certificates, 18 state/territory police certificates, one special certificate and one state medal have been awarded. Prior to this (1992-97), there was greater variation in how the awards were classified. However, a total of 221 projects were recognised in this period.

These projects have contained a wealth of good practice knowledge. While the awards are crucial in highlighting the innovative and important contributions that these projects have made to crime prevention, the lessons on what makes these projects successful have not been adequately captured and shared with other practitioners. The purpose of this review was to determine what information could be learned from ACVPA projects that could be shared with other practitioners and to identify how the ACVPA contributed to improved outcomes for project winners.

ACVPA review

To determine if good practice crime prevention information can be extracted from ACVPA projects, a pilot exercise was conducted on a small sample of ACVPA projects. This review relied solely on consultations with ACVPA project winners and on participant perception of their project's continued success. …

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