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Keane, Martin (2006) The EDDRA column. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 18, Summer 2006, p. 24.

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Copping On National Crime Awareness Initiative


Welcome to the fifteenth EDDRA (Exchange on Drug Demand Reduction Action) column. The aim of this column is to inform people about the EDDRA online database, which provides information on good practice interventions to policy makers and those working in the drugs area across Europe, and to promote the role of evaluation in reducing demand for drugs. The database is co-ordinated by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).


This article will look at the findings from a recent evaluation of the Copping On National Crime Awareness Initiative.1 This initiative has been included on the EDDRA database as an example of good practice in working with young people at risk. An important requirement of good practice is a willingness to evaluate and improve an intervention by developing a focused and strategic plan. The evaluation of Copping On was commissioned to assist in the development of a strategic plan.  

The Copping On National Crime Awareness Initiative is now celebrating its tenth anniversary. The initiative was established to provide crime prevention and awareness training to groups working with young people at risk, such as members of the Probation and Welfare Service, the Garda, and youth workers.  The City of Dublin Vocational Educational Committee (CDVEC) administers the programme and the Department of Education, the Department of Justice and FÁS provide funding. The two-day training course delivered to participating groups covers communications, relationships, drugs and alcohol, decision making and the role of the justice system in society – all relevant issues in the lives of the young people that these groups work with. Junior and senior resource packs are provided to enable participants to structure their work with at-risk young people around the central themes of the initiative.

The evaluators sought the views of a small number of young people who received training from trained facilitators based on the Copping On material. Of the sessions delivered to the young people, those that had most impact were the prison visit, drug and alcohol awareness and discussion on stereotyping. Overall, it appeared that the young participants gained a better understanding of the consequences of choices they made.

The evaluation also surveyed 420 programme participants, of whom 91 (22%) responded. Some key findings from this survey were:

  • 57% of respondents felt that the training was highly or very useful, and 40% gave it a rating between very low and medium usefulness.
  • 46% used the training for crime prevention purposes only, and 53% for other purposes.
  • Respondents reported using Copping On material with approximately 1,250 young people.
  • 57% agreed that the current programme content fitted their needs.
  • 61% would like Copping On to develop a DVD for crime awareness work with young people; 57% would like training on re-offending; 49% would like training and resources to assist in work with young people with low literacy levels; and 48% would favour greater focus on work with the families of young people at risk.
  • 78% had used the resource packs and reported them to be user friendly.
  • 78% had not attended follow-up training.
  • 41% believed that the Copping On initiative had changed their approach to crime awareness work with young people.

 The evaluation contains a number of key recommendations designed to improve the strategic focus and location of Copping On, build on and develop its evaluation culture and develop its capacity to respond to the changing needs of the main target groups. Two specific recommendations are: 

  • Training should expand to focus on young people with low literacy levels, families of young people at risk and those at risk of re-offending.
  • Copping On should expand and update its data-collection system to include information on levels of participant delivery of programmes to young people, the impact of the programme on young people, follow-up training and project visits and how the programme can continue to meet the needs of the target groups.

1. Duffy A (2005) Evaluation Report: Copping On 2000–2004. Dublin: Copping On National Crime Awareness Initiative.

If you have an intervention that has been evaluated and you wish to highlight your work and share the information from your evaluation with a national and international audience, please contact Martin Keane, EDDRA Manager, at 01 6761176 ext 169 or Email: mkeane@hrb.ie



Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Issue Title
Issue 18, Summer 2006
April 2006
Page Range
p. 24
Health Research Board
Issue 18, Summer 2006
Accession Number
HRB (Available)
Related (external) link

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