Ms Katherine Danylak1, Associate Professor Rachael Fullam2
2Consultation and Evaluation Lead, Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science (CFBS), Swinburne University of Technology. Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia
The Embedded Youth Outreach Program (EYOP) is an innovative Victoria Police led program designed to meet the needs of young people with whom the police come into contact. The program is a collaborative initiative which sees a police officer paired with a youth worker for attendance at scene. The program aims to reduce long-term involvement in the criminal justice system by engaging with the young person and their family, assessing their needs and referring them to youth-specific supports.
The EYOP was piloted across two Melbourne metropolitan sites over 2018-2020. A concurrent evaluation was conducted by the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science at Swinburne University of Technology.
Although the program was understandably complex to roll out and evaluate, several promising findings emerged from the EYOP pilot period. Most young people who were referred to a support service by EYOP youth workers went onto attend at least one appointment, and all professionals interviewed as part of the evaluation indicate that having the EYOP team present and able to engage youth immediately is valuable and distinguishes EYOP from other initiatives. Feedback from youth workers and police suggests strong working alliances have been developed and there has been capacity building on both sides. Overall, a positive treatment effect was found for EYOP clients, compared to a matched control group, across the period of EYOP intervention and following participation for a number of offence categories. Finally, the benefits of the EYOP program were found to outweigh the costs and to provide value for money.
Katherine has a background in education and public policy and has been working in the government sector on the design and delivery of initiatives aimed at increasing social inclusion and reducing disadvantage. Prior to working with Victoria Police, Katherine was the Social Participation Manager at AMES Australia. Katherine currently manages the EYOP, an innovative partnership between police and youth workers designed to reduce youth offending. The Centre for Forensic and Behavioural Science, at Swinburne University is evaluating the intervention.
Associate Professor Fullam provides project oversight and management across all contracted consultation, evaluation and research projects at the CBFS. She has significant expertise in qualitative and quantitative evaluation of interventions and services across health and correctional settings and holds specialist knowledge in forensic behavioural science. She regularly designs and manages evaluations of new services, interventions and training programs. Dr Fullam is also Manager of the Australian Consortium for Research Excellence in Reducing Persistent Violence and Sexual Offending (Catalyst Consortium).