Australian Institute of Criminology

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Predictors of youth violence in Australia: implications for prevention and early intervention

74 Leichhardt Street, Griffith, ACT
22 April 2008

Sheryl Hemphill
Centre for Adolescent Health, Murdoch Children's Research Institute and Deakin University

Synopsis of presentation

Youth violence is a significant public health and social issue around the world. Longitudinal studies are crucial to understand the factors that influence the development of youth violence, and to identify potential targets for prevention and intervention. This longitudinal study of adolescent development in almost 6,000 students in Victoria, Australia and Washington state, US (the International Youth Development Study) provides a unique opportunity to examine multiple influences on youth violence, including characteristics of the young person, peers, family, school and community, as well as societal consequences for problem behaviour. Cross-state comparisons show many similarities and also important differences. These findings have important implications for the use of North American evidence-based approaches to youth violence in Australia. The effects of societal consequences on subsequent violence and the implications of this for policy will be discussed.

About the speaker

Sheryl Hemphill, PhD, is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Adolescent Health, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, The University of Melbourne's Department of Paediatrics and the Royal Children's Hospital, and a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Psychology, Deakin University. She has extensive experience in longitudinal studies of child and adolescent development. Her research interests are in the development of adolescent violence, crime and substance use, as well as positive youth development. Sheryl is also interested in the ways in which schools and communities respond to problem behaviour and the impact of these responses on youth behaviour. She is the convenor of the violence and crime research group at the Centre for Adolescent Health.