The Rhetoric and Reality of the 'Risk Factor Prevention Paradigm' Approach to Preventing and Reducing Youth Offending
The Risk Factor Prevention Paradigm (RFPP) has become increasingly influential upon government responses to youth offending. This paper critically evaluates `evidence-based' risk-focused research and prevention that coalesces around the RFPP. We highlight the significant issues that surround defining and measuring risk factors, difficulties in interpreting risk factor evidence, the `psycho-reductionism' of much risk-focused research, implementation problems regarding early intervention and methodological debates around evaluating `what works' in risk-focused crime prevention. A discussion of the promising, progressive nature of the RFPP is tempered by an evaluation of the practical and political concerns that impact upon the paradigm.