Creating Pathways to Prevention
Creating Pathways to Prevention aims to strengthen the development system for children, with a long-term view to reducing youth crime and promoting both human and community development. The basic focus is policy pathways, since the project aims to reorganise government, as well as societal priorities and practices, and move tertiary, punitive responses to social problems (especially for youth crime and substance abuse) to primary prevention - the prevention of problems before they emerge or become entrenched.
The program began in the mid-1990s under the leadership of Professor Ross Homel, AO. The Federal Government report, Pathways to Prevention: Developmental and Early Intervention Approaches to Crime in Australia (Summary (PDF 1514k), Full Report (PDF 2373k), Appendices (PDF 1669k)), was produced in 1999 through an inter-disciplinary consortium that Professor Homel convened and led. This report has had a major influence in Australia on policies in such diverse fields as mental health, substance abuse, juvenile crime, child protection, and special education.
The Pathways to Prevention Project began in 2001 and ran until 2011 as a comprehensive service offered through a partnership between national community service agency Mission Australia, seven local primary schools and Griffith University, in several ethnically diverse, socially disadvantaged, and high crime Brisbane suburbs. On May 4 2011, Pathways celebrated its 10th Anniversary (PDF 488k).
An important outcome of the Pathways Project has been a longutudinal database of child outcomes. Including data from nearly 5,000 children, Department of Education records, and case studies - this database provides an unprecedented wealth of long-term data.
The central aim of our Australian Research Council Discovery Project for 2013-2016, entitled Crime, poverty and early prevention: a Longitudinal study of social and development pathways to wellbeing through the Pathways to Prevention Project (PDF 66k), is to analyse these data and add official youth justice data for the original preschool cohort (2002-3).
The CREATE Project also emerged from the Pathways to Prevention Project. It is an attempt to strengthen colaborative practices around clear, measurable goals that are achieved through evidence-based inititatives. CREATE is an acronym: Collaborative; Relationship-driven; Early in the pathway; Accountable; Training-focused; Evidence-driven.
These principles underpin a model of preventative action that:
- empowers schools and community agencies to transcend system silos;
- foster ethical practices and respectful relationships;
- deliver goal-directed, quantitatively evaluated, evidence-based resources that promote child wellbeing in disadvantaged communities and
- help deflect children from antisocial and criminal behaviours.
These principles are being applied in 2014-2016 in an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant - Creating the Conditions for Collective Impact: Transforming the Child-Serving System in Disadvantaged Communities (PDF 146k). This project is building and testing human and electronic infrastructure to put the CREATE principles into practice.
Many papers and reports have been published that report aspects of the Pathways to Prevention Project or that draw on the project to develop arguments about how to do developmental crime prevention. Many of these papers and reports can be downloaded as PDFs by clicking on the link below: Creating Pathways to Prevention Publications.