Gang violence and gang related harms to health

Research Question: What interventions are effective* in preventing and/or reducing gang violence and/or gang related harms to health?

*‘Effectiveness’ in this context relates not only to the size of the effect, but it also takes into account any harmful or negative side effects, including inequitable outcomes.
Most research on gang violence has been conducted in the USA. There is a need for more research in the UK context, particularly in light of the number of gang-related interventions in the UK without strong evaluation evidence.
The Public Health Research programme wishes to commission research on the prevention and/or reduction of gang related violence and/or harm to health. Research may include (but is not restricted to) evaluation of interventions relating to any following aspects of gang related violence or health harm:
– Preventing young people from becoming involved in gang related violence and associated harms in the first place, with an emphasis on early intervention and prevention. This may include building resilience.
– Pathways out of gang culture, gang related violence and associated health harm for young people who want to break with the past, including diversionary and rehabilitation-driven interventions
– Preventing or reducing gang related violence or health harm against vulnerable individuals
– The role of gender in moderating the effectiveness of gang and youth violence prevention approaches
– Physical environments that impact upon gangs’ ability to thrive
Commissioning brief: Studies should generate evidence to inform the implementation of single or multi-component interventions. Studies may include evidence syntheses, studies evaluating interventions, including trials, quasi- and natural experimental evaluations, and feasibility and pilot studies for these. We welcome applications for linked studies (e.g. pilot + main evaluation). Secondary analyses of existing epidemiological data and/or impact modelling studies may also be funded. We encourage the adoption of a systems perspective where appropriate to the study context. In all cases a strong justification for the chosen design and methods must be made.

The primary outcome measure of the research, if not necessarily the intervention itself, must be health-related. The positive or negative impacts of the intervention, including inequitable outcomes should be considered. Researchers are asked to indicate how long-term impacts will be assessed. All applications should identify underlying theory and include a logic model (or equivalent) to help explain underlying context, theory and mechanisms. Proposals should ensure adequate public involvement in the research.
For all proposals, applicants should clearly state the public health utility of the outcomes and the mechanisms by which they will inform future public health policy and practice. Details about the potential pathway to impact and scalability of interventions, if shown to have an effect, should be provided, including an indication of which organisation(s) might fund the relevant intervention(s) if widely implemented.
Representatives of policy or practice communities relevant to the project should be directly engaged or involved with the development and delivery of PHR research because this produces research that is more closely grounded in, and reflective of, their concerns and makes the subsequent uptake and application of research findings more likely. By policy or practice, we mean any organisation that is involved in shaping policy or delivering public health services relevant to the research, whether at local or national levels. This might include local authorities, charities, voluntary organisations, professional bodies, commercial organisations, governmental and arms-length bodies.