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Have a Word: Preventing Offending, Injury and Victimisation through Motivational Advice in Criminal Justice and Health Services

Have a Word: Preventing Offending, Injury and Victimisation through Motivational Advice in Criminal Justice and Health Services

VRG Have a Word Briefing Cover_Page_1.jpg

A series of randomised trials carried out with research partners by the Violence Research Group showed that screening for and brief advice on alcohol misuse:

  • Reduced reoffending when delivered in probation services
  • Did not reduce alcohol misuse or offending but decreased injury among offenders when delivered in magistrates’ courts
  • Reduced alcohol misuse when delivered in general practices
  • Did not reduce alcohol misuse when delivered in accident and emergency departments
  • Reduced alcohol misuse when delivered in health service injury clinics

This research programme was designed to find out if, where and when motivational advice – brief interventions – reduces alcohol misuse, injury and offending; and in which format this advice is more effective. This programme was also designed to translate effective practice into public service practice.

Research was conducted in two phases: Phase 1 consisted of a series of randomised trials of screening and brief advice on alcohol which, showed that most benefit was achieved when it was delivered at “teachable moments” in patients’ and offenders’ lives e.g.  at times when their thoughts were not dominated by the immediate effects of injury or conviction, but later on, when the immediate effects had passed and the causes of offending and injury were uppermost in their minds. Phase 2, which was  funded through two Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with Welsh Government and Public Health Wales, worked to develop a new, practical and attractive approach to embedding effective brief advice in routine service delivery. The interventions were trialled in NHS health boards across Wales with significant successes and have since been adopted by the Ministry of Defence.

Findings from the research studies and their subsequent impact have been summarised in a '60 Second briefing' document, which is available for free download below. 

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