module specification

SS7171 - Crime, Risk and Early Intervention (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Crime, Risk and Early Intervention
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
164 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Essay, 2,500 words
Oral Examination 50%   Presentation
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

The module aims to explore what is known about children and young people at risk of offending, and what is known about the childhoods of adults dealt with in the criminal justice system, to understand what interventions might have reduced risk. It also considers the social disadvantages and environmental context which contribute to risk, leading to a comparison of targeted versus universal strategies of prevention.  The second part of the programme is then on ‘what works’ in early intervention.

Module aims

The module seeks to enable students to:

  • Have a good understanding of the social factors which increase risk of offending among children and young people
  • Explore the role of support, mentoring, and schools in prevention, and
  • the evidence on what is most likely to work and why, drawing on theory and research
  • gain a good knowledge of the most effective early interventions
  • explore the value of similar initiatives in reducing repeat offending


1. Profiling offenders – can risk be identified?
2. Childhood maltreatment and violence in the home
3. Social disadvantage, learning difficulties, exclusion 
4. Bio-psycho-social explanations, and the role of humiliation
5. Targeting risk versus universal strategies
6. Critical reflection, theory, concepts, labelling
7. Revision and essay preparation
8. Interventions with disadvantaged parents of young children – the evidence
9. School based programmes designed to reduce offending
10. Support and mentoring – does it work?
11. Public protection policy – a critique
12. Repeat offending  
13. Presentations – describe, analyse and evaluate the evidence on one early intervention
14. Feedback, reflection and review

Learning and teaching

Each week, this module will be delivered through three hour workshops featuring lecturing, student presentations and seminar discussion.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module, students should be able to:
1. explain the types of childhood experiences associated with risk of offending
2. explain the social environmental factors which affect risk
3. critically evaluate the evidence on ‘what works’ in early intervention
4. Analyse early intervention and public protection policies drawing on theory and research on risk

Assessment strategy

Assessment consists of a presentation, worth 50% of the module mark, and an essay (50%). The essay will assess learning outcomes 1, 2 and 4. The presentation will assess learning outcome 3, presenting to the seminar group an overview of an early intervention project – rationale, practical detail, evidence of effectiveness, prior to submission in week 13


*Blyth, M. and Solomon, E. (Eds.) (2009) Prevention and Youth Crime: Is Early Intervention Working? Bristol: The Policy Pres e-book in library

Chambers, M., Ullmann, B., Waller, I., (2009) Less crime, lower costs: implementing effective early crime reduction programmes in England and Wales, London: Policy Exchange.

DuBois, D. L., Holloway, B. E., Valentine, J. C., and Cooper, H. (2002).  Effectiveness of mentoring programs for youth: A meta‐analytic review.  American Journal of Community Psychology 30: 157‐198.

Farrington, D. P. (2006) Childhood risk factors and risk focused prevention. In M. Maguire, R. Morgan & R. Reiner (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (4th ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Farrington, D. P., Welsh, B. C. (2007) Saving children from a life of crime: Early risk factors and effective interventions, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Graham, A. (2011). Early Intervention: The next steps. London: HM Government.

Independent Commission (2010) Time for a fresh start: The report of the independent commission on youth crime and antisocial behaviour, The police foundation.

Jolliffe, D. & Farrington, D. P. (2008). Does Mentoring Reduce Reoffending? Report for the Swedish National Council.

Rutter, M., Maughan, B., Mortimore, P., & Ouston, J. (1979).  Fifteen Thousand Hours.   London: Open Books.

Smith, J. D., Schneider, B. H., Smith, P. K. and Ananiadrou, K. (2004).  The effectiveness of whole‐school antibullying programs: A synthesis of evaluation research.  School Psychology Review 33: 547‐560.

*Welsh, B.C. and Farrington, D.P. (eds) (2012)  The Oxford handbook of crime prevention Oxford: Oxford University Press

Useful websites
The Early Intervention Foundation