Professor of Quantitative Criminology

BSc Hons, MSc
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Biography

Susan is Professor of Quantitative Criminology within the School of Law. She has three major research roles within the School. She is Director of the Applied Quantitative Methods Network (AQMeN) in Scotland, a research centre developing dynamic and pioneering projects to improve our understanding of current social issues in the UK and provide policy makers and practitioners with robust, independent, research-based evidence to build a better future. Susan is Co-Director of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, a prospective longitudinal study of youth offending based at the University of Edinburgh since 1998. She has responsibility for strategic management of the research programme and plays a key role in advancing statistical analysis of the data and publishing the results of the research. And she is Leader of the CJ-Quest network for the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, another collaborative initiative involving Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities in partnership with the other Scottish HEIs. The CJ-Quest network has responsibility for conducting and facilitating high quality quantitative criminological research in Scotland, and developing statistical analysis and data modelling.

Susan has a broad range of substantive interests, and her recent work includes research into:  crime patterns and trends in the context of the crime drop in Scotland; youth anti-social behaviour and offending; criminal careers through the life-course; systems of justice, including transitions from juvenile to adult criminal justice systems; neighbourhood effects on offending; patterns of violence and homicide; youth gangs and knife crime; policing and crime reduction; and stop and search in Scotland. She is also interested in the use of advanced methods in quantitative criminology, and her current work involves developing longitudinal methods for understanding the factors associated with trends in crime over time; modelling trajectories of offending and linking this to criminal histories; using multi-level modelling to establish the impact of neighbourhood-level effects and dynamics over and above individual-level effects on individual delinquency; and using quasi-experimental methods to investigate the impact of early youth justice intervention on later behaviour, life chances and criminal conviction trajectories.

Susan is a member of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Capability Committee and has strategic role in advising on the development of doctorial training and advanced quantitative methods training at the UK level.   She is also a member of several Scottish Government committees, including the Independent Advisory Group on Stop and Search chaired by John Scott QC and the Building Safer Communities Programme Board.  Susan is consulted broadly on a range of crime and justice related issues by central and local governments, third sector organisations and private sector bodies.  She regularly reviews articles for various journals, and is a member of the editorial board of the British Journal of Criminology, Youth Justice, and Criminology and Criminal Justice. Prior to working for the University, she was a government researcher in Scotland with responsiblity for the development of Government research on crime surveys, various aspects of the criminal justice system and substance use.

 

Along with her colleague Professor Lesley McAra, Susan was awarded the Howard League for Penal Reform Research Medal in 2013.  She was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2014. 

Websites

Professor Susan McVie's Homepage at Edinburgh Law School

PhD Supervisees

Ben Matthews  'Criminal Careers and the Crime Drop in Scotland'

Luis Fernando Pantoja Nunez  'Another side of the segregation: Reproduction of violence and criminal behavior through schools.'

Sara Skott  'The Relationship between Homicide and Serious Violence in Scotland'

Books and Reports

Kath Murray, Paul McGuinness, Michele Burman, Susan McVie, Evaluation of the Whole System Approach to Young People who Offend in Scotland, (Scottish Government, 2015)
Abstract: The Whole System Approach was introduced in 2011 to provide a more robust and efficient mechanism for delivering the early intervention and support necessary for young people who offend, integrated with the approaches necessary to deal with the minority of young people who continue to commit the most serious offences.The Scottish Centre for Crime & Justice Research were commissioned in October 2014 to carry out an evaluation of the process of implementation in 3 case study areas in Scotland and identify their initial progress towards the intended outcomes of the approach.

Sarah MacQueen, Susan McVie, The Whole System Approach for Children and Young People who Offend: An Evaluation of Early Stage Implementation, (Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, 2013)

Susan McVie, Ben Bradford, Stephanie Fohring, Sarah MacQueen, The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2008/09: User Guide, (Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, 2011)
Abstract: This User Guide provides a comprehensive introduction for anyone wishing to know more about or use the data from the 2008/09 Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS). The Guide is structured in four sections. Section 1 provides a short historical account of the development of crime surveys in Scotland, followed by technical information on the background, sample design and methodology of the 2008/09 survey in particular. This includes details of the sample design and methodology, structure and content of the questionnaire, use of weighting and some limitations of the data. Section 2 provides practical guidance on using the data, including how to access it, data file formats and levels of analysis, how to choose the appropriate dataset, selecting and using weights and defining variables. Further support for users is provided in Section 3, which uses illustrative examples to answer common analytical questions and demonstrates how to merge datasets together. The examples provided include SPSS syntax and output, which are intended to allow users to replicate analysis contained in the published reports. The final section identifies some useful resources for survey users.

Susan McVie, Jon Bannister, Jon Pickering, Susan Batchelor, Michele Burman, Keith Kintrea, Troublesome Youth Groups, Gangs and Knife Carrying in Scotland, (Scottish Government, 2010)
Abstract: Recent years have witnessed growing concern about the existence of youth gangs and the engagement of their members in violent conflict involving knives and other weapons. However, there is limited reliable evidence relating to the nature, form and prevalence of youth ‘gangs’ and knife carrying in Scotland. Based on interviews with agency representatives and young people involved in gangs and knife crime, this research report provides an overview of the nature and extent of youth gang activity and knife carrying in 5 Scottish case study locations. It also reveals a detailed picture of the structures and activities of youth gangs in these settings and offers a series of recommendations for interventions to reduce or prevent such behaviour based on this evidence.

Susan McVie, Gang Membership and Knife Carrying: Findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, (Scottish Government Social Research, 2010)
Abstract: This report presents key findings on gang membership and knife carrying amongst a cohort of over 4000 young people based on data collected by the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime (ESYTC). The report provides an account of the knife carrying behaviour and reported gang membership amongst young people between age 12 and 17 and explores the background characteristics or profiles of young people who have carried knives or been involved in a gang. The report highlights that the main risk factors associated with knife carrying and gang membership have some overlap; however, there are also distinct differences which suggest that the aetiology of these two forms of delinquent behaviour is not necessarily shared.

Susan McVie, Alistair Fraser, Michele Burman, Susan Batchelor, Youth Violence in Scotland: Literature Review, (Scottish Government, 2010)
Abstract: Youth violence is a contentious public and political issue. A great deal of media attention and public debate is devoted to the phenomenon of youth violence. Yet very little is known about the scale or nature of violence committed by youth, trends in violent youth offending, or the role played by violence in the everyday lives of children and young people in Scotland. The aim of this review, which was commissioned by the Scottish government, was to identify and collate available qualitative and quantitative research data and information about youth violence in Scotland, in order to construct a research-informed picture of ‘what is currently known’ about youth violence in Scotland. It was also intended to form part of a wider programme of work on youth violence currently being conducted within the Scottish Government including an ongoing audit of official data sources. This review was also intended to enhance awareness of potential gaps in recording procedures within the Scottish Government for capturing data on youth violence, identify areas in which there is a particular dearth of information about youth violence, and suggest areas for future research.

Susan McVie, Susan Wiltshire, Racism and Social Marginalisation: A Comparative Study of Three EU Member States, (European Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2010)
Abstract: This research report presents the findings of a research studyconducted by researchers from France, Spain and the UK on behalf of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) during 2008/09. The research involved a self-report survey of around 1,000 children between the ages of 12 and 18 (young people) in each ofthe three Member States – 3,000 took part in the research survey in total. The survey set out to explore possiblerelationships between young people’s experiences of discrimination and social marginalisation, including experiences of racism, and their attitudes towards and actual engagement in violent behaviours. The main finding from the study suggests a strong relationship between experiences of violence and discrimination; namely those who reported that they were discriminated against were significantly more likely to have also experienced emotional and physical violence, both as a victim and as a perpetrator. In addition, those who had experienced these forms of violence were significantly more likely to feel alienated or socially marginalised. This was equally the case for young people from a Muslim and non-Muslim background. This indicates that the experience of discrimination or violence is not necessarily related to religious background. This conclusion is supported by the analysis of results from the research.

Susan McVie, Paul Norris, Scottish Crime and Victimisation Survey User Guide, (Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, 2009)
Abstract: This paper (and accompanying SPSS files) aims to address several concerns around the calculation of victimisation rates from the 2006 Scottish Crime and Victimisation Survey (SCVS). Analysis of the original data revealed some problems with labelling of the data in the Victim Form dataset and some missing variables. Therefore, a review of the data and a check on the victimisation rates for 2006 was requested by Scottish Government. This review found that that there were errors in the victimisation rates and estimates published in the report for the 2006 survey (Brown and Bolling 2007). This paper outlines the work done during the course of this review and presents a new set of victimisation rates and estimates that are comparable with previous crime surveys carried out in Scotland.

Paul Norris, Susan McVie, A Review of the 2006 Scottish Crime and Victimisation Survey: Victim File and Victimisation Rates, (Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, 2009)

Susan McVie, Tony Coxon, Phil Hawkins, Jackie Palmer, Robin Rice, Scoping Study into Quantitative Methods Capacity Building in Scotland, (Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, 2008)
Abstract: The report presents the findings of research commissioned by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (‘the Commission’) to mark the 10th anniversary of its establishment. The research commenced on 10 July 2008 and will conclude with the submission of a final report to the Commission by 30 April 2009. The research was undertaken by researchers working within the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, and reviewed the 75 cases referred by the Commission to the High Court of Justiciary sitting as a court of appeal (‘the appeal court’) in the period 1 April 1999 to 31 March 2008. The research aimed to learn more about the references made by the Commission, how its statements of reasons in such cases have been received by the legal profession and the manner in which its grounds of reference have been determined by the court. Chapters 1, 2 and 3 provide the background to the research, the legal framework governing the Commission’s work, and details of the research methods used. Chapter 4 reviews the nature of the cases which were referred to the appeal court by the Commission, the grounds on which they were referred and the time taken by the Commission to refer cases. It notes that the majority of cases referred by the Commission involve serious crimes, but that the Commission’s work is not restricted to such cases. The most common ground for referring convictions to the appeal court is evidence not heard at the original trial, with the next most common grounds being a failure to disclose and defective representation. By far the most common ground for referring sentences was the improper calculation of the punishment part of a life sentence. Chapter 5 reviews the treatment of referred cases by the appeal court, with particular reference to grounds of appeal which went beyond the Commission’s basis for referral. Such grounds were rarely successful, and where they were this was always in conjunction with other grounds. The chapter finds that 60% of conviction referrals and 92% of sentence referrals resulted in successful appeals. Of those referred cases which have been determined by the appeal court, the mean time taken from referral to determination was 631 days. Chapter 6 reports the results of a programme of interviews with legal processionals (solicitors and advocates) regarding the Commission’s work. It finds that the work of the Commission, and the quality thereof, has been positively received. It notes various suggestions for improvement made by interviewees. Chapter 7 draws together the results of the research, reviewing in particular the nature of cases referred to the appeal court, grounds of referral and grounds of appeal, the “success” of the Commission, the function of the Commission, and delay in proceedings before the appeal court.

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, Criminal Justice Transitions, (University of Edinburgh, 2007)
Abstract: This report explores transitions into the adult criminal justice system amongst a large cohort of young people who were involved in the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime. It includes: a description of patterns of criminal convictions and disposals for young people up to age 19 (on average); an examination of the characteristics and institutional histories of cohort members with a criminal record as compared with youngsters with no such record; and an exploration of the profile of young people who make the transition from the children’s hearings system to the adult criminal justice system as compared with youngsters with a hearings record but who have not made this transition by age 19.

Susan McVie, Lesley McAra, J. Palmer, Sample Safeguarding Exercise, (Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, 2007)
Abstract: The purpose of this report was to inform the methodological development of future phases of the study. We are immensely grateful to the Scottish Executive for funding this sample safeguarding exercise to determine how successfully and by what methods the cohort might best be contacted in the future. The final report is available on request.

Susan McVie, Animal Abuse amongst Young People aged 13 to 17: Trends, Trajectories and Links with Other Offending, (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 2007)

Susan McVie, Paul Norris, The Effect of Neighbourhood Perceptions on Adolescent Property Offending, (Centre for Law and Society, University of Edinburgh, 2006)
Abstract: The aim of this report is to examine young people's involvement in property crime and to assess whether such behaviour can be predicted by neighbourhood characteristics at an early ate. A key aspect of the investigation is whether different offending trajectories are influenced to a greater extent by young people's perceptions of their neighbourhood or by the actual physical and social features of the neighbourhood itself.

Susan McVie, Paul Norris, Neighbourhood Effects on Youth Delinquency and Drug Use, (Centre for Law and Society, University of Edinburgh, 2006)
Abstract: This report aims to investigate whether the characteristics of residential neighbourhoods exert an influence on two forms of problematic adolescent behaviour, namely criminal offending and drug use, that is independent of factors relating specifically to the individual.

Susan McVie, Lucy Holmes, Family Functioning and Substance Use at Ages 12 to 17, (Centre for Law and Society, University of Edinburgh, 2005)
Abstract: This report explores the relationship between family functioning (including family structure, characteristics and parenting styles) and substance use among young people aged 12 to 17. It draws on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime. A copy of this report is available to download at the Edinburgh Study website at: http://www.esytc.ed.ac.uk/findings/published

Susan McVie, Paul Bradshaw, Adolescent Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use, (Centre for Law and Society, University of Edinburgh, 2005)
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationships and inter-dependence between tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use in adolescence and the characteristics of substance users. It draws on the findings of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime.

Susan McVie, Siobhan Campbell, Korin Lebov, Scottish Crime Survey 2003, (Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Social Research, 2004)
Abstract: This report summarises the findings from the 2003 Scottish Crime Survey, a household survey of people's experiences and perceptions of crime based on interviews with over 5000 adults throughout Scotland.

David J. Smith, Jon Shute, John Flint, Susan McVie, Rona Woodward, Lesley McAra, The Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime: Key Findings at Ages 12 and 13, (Centre for Law and Society, University of Edinburgh, 2001)
Abstract: The aim of this report is to present the key findings from the first three years of the Edinburgh Study, covering two sweeps of data collection. As the findings cover a broad range of topic areas, it is beyond the scope of this initial report to include an extensive review of the literature or a detailed discussion of theoretical issues. The content of the report is mainly descriptive, although relevant contextual information is referred to in each chapter. A concluding section is given at the end of each chapter, to sum up these findings, identify further areas of analysis and contemplate the issues for future stages of the Edinburgh.

Susan McVie, S. Anderson, S. Warner, Public Interest and Private Grief: A Study of Fatal Accident Inquiries in Scotland, (Scottish Office Central Research Unit, 1995)
Abstract: In Scotland, all sudden, suspicious and unexplained deaths are the subject of inquiry by the procurator fiscal who, in certain circumstances, may hold a public inquiry into the death. Such inquiries are held under the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976, and are known as 'fatal accident inquiries' (FAIs). The 1976 Act legislates for two types of inquiry: mandatory inquiries must be held for deaths occurring within employment or legal custody, while discretionary inquiries may be held where it appears to be expedient within the public interest to do so. This research was commissioned by Crown Office to inform a review of guidelines for procurators fiscal and was conducted by the Criminological Research Branch of The Scottish Office Central Research Unit.

Susan McVie, Simon Anderson, The 1993 Scottish Crime Survey: First Results, (The Stationery Office, 1994)

Susan McVie, The Use of the Judicial Examination Procedure in Scotland, (The Stationery Office, 1994)

Articles

Susan McVie, 'Are crime statistics and surveys hiding the real extent of domestic forms of violence? ', (2016), Scottish Justice Matters, Vol 4, pp 36

Maureen McAra, Susan McVie, 'Understanding youth violence: the mediating effects of gender, poverty and vulnerability', (2016), Journal of Criminal Justice
Abstract: This article aims to improve understanding of youth violence in the early teenage years. Drawing on evidence from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime (a prospective longitudinal programme of research tracking the lives of around 4,300 young people), it explores the mediating effects of gender and poverty in the presence of various risk and protective measures. Our findings show that violence is strongly associated with gender and poverty at both the household and neighbourhood levels. These relationships remain even when controlling for indicators of risk and protection linked to victimization, and relationships between children, their care-givers, and school. The findings provide further support for our theory of ‘negotiated order’, which posits that formal and informal regulatory orders play a key role in the development, and sustaining of offender identities (McAra and McVie 2012). They highlight the ways in which violence becomes a resource for the disempowered to negotiate such pathways, gaining status and a sense of self-worth through violent encounters. We conclude that violence reduction is best effected by: support for victims, enhancing parenting skills, transforming school-curricula, and tackling poverty. Above all, young people involved in violence should be conceptualised as vulnerable children rather than offenders.

Susan McVie, Maureen McAra, 'Poverty matters ', (2015), Scottish Justice Matters, Vol 3, pp 2

Susan McVie, Maureen McAra, 'The reproduction of poverty ', (2015), Scottish Justice Matters, Vol 3, pp 4

Susan McVie, 'Homicide in Scotland: The need for a deeper understanding ', (2015), Scottish Justice Matters, Vol 3, pp 36

Susan McVie, Paul Norris, Rebecca Pillinger, 'Is poverty reflected in changing patterns of victimisation in Scotland? ', (2015), Scottish Justice Matters, Vol 3, pp 6

Susan McVie, Rebecca Pillinger, Paul Norris, 'Winners and losers in the great crime drop ', (2014), ESRC 'Britain in 2015'

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Maximum Diversion Minimum Intervention: An Evidence Base for Kilbrandon', (2014), Scottish Justice Matters, Vol 2, pp 21-22

Susan McVie, 'The Impact of Bullying Perpetration and Victimization on Later Violence and Psychological Distress: A Study of Resilience amongst a Scottish Youth Cohort', (2014), Journal of School Violence, Vol 13, pp 1-39
Abstract: This article examines the impact of bullying between age 13 and 16 years on negative outcomes at age 17 years, taking into account various resilience factors at the individual, family and community level. Using longitudinal data from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, a prospective cohort study of around 4,300 young people in Scotland, the impact of bullying perpetration on later engagement in violence and the impact of bullying victimization on later psychological distress are modeled. The analysis finds significant resilience factors, which reduce violence and psychological distress in late adolescence; however, even when controlling for such factors, both bullying perpetration and bullying victimization are strongly predictive of later negative outcomes. The findings support policy responses that implementearly and effective interventions within schools to both prevent bullying and improve individual resilience to its long-term effects.

Susan McVie, Brian Francis, Keith Soothill, Les Humphreys, 'Middle-class Offenders as Employees – Assessing the Risk: A 35-year Follow-up', (2013), Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, Vol 52, pp 407-20
Abstract: A 35-year follow-up of a series of 317 middle-class offenders in England and Wales suggests that the dangers of employing offenders may be more limited than expected. Although 40% were subsequently convicted, only 8% were subsequently convicted of offenses that directly and adversely affected an employer. This work should challenge the “exaggerated fears” of employers. Interestingly, variables which normally predict subsequent criminal activity made no impact in trying to predict offenses against an employer.

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Negotiated Order: The Groundwork for a Theory of Offending Pathways', (2012), Criminology and Criminal Justice, Vol 12, pp 347-75
Abstract: This article explores the role which formal and informal regulatory orders play in the development of offender identity. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, it argues that the cultural practices of formal orders (such as those imposed by schools and the police) and informal orders (such as the rules governing peer interactions) mirror each other in respect of their fundamental dynamics – animated primarily by an inclusionary–exclusionary imperative. Formal orders differentiate between categories of young people on the basis of class and suspiciousness. Informal orders differentiate between individuals on the basis of adherence to group norms, territorial sovereignty, and gender appropriate demeanour. Being excluded by either set of orders undermines the capacity of the individual to negotiate, limits autonomy and constrains choice. This renders the individual more likely to absorb identities ascribed to them with damaging consequences in terms of offending behaviour and the individual’s sense of self.

Susan McVie, 'Alternative Models of Youth Justice: Lessons from Scotland and Northern Ireland', (2011), Journal of Children's Services, Vol 6, pp 106-14
Abstract: Purpose – Widespread criticism of the youth justice system in England and Wales has resulted in calls for it to adopt a restorative paradigm. This paper seeks to review the historical development of youth justice in neighbouring Scotland and Northern Ireland.Design/methodology/approach – The historical development of youth justice in Scotland and Northern Ireland is reviewed with a view to learning lessons from these two very different models, compared to the current model in England and Wales.Findings – It is argued that those tasked with reforming the system in England and Wales must understand the underlying political, cultural and social contexts in which alternative models have developed and satisfactorily resolve the conflicting needs and rights of the offender versus those of the victim, community and wider public.Originality/value – Transfer of policy and practice from other jurisdictions requires careful consideration of their political, cultural and social contexts but England and Wales may benefit greatly from adopting restorative practices similar to those in Northern Ireland. However, successful implementation will depend on political will and institutional infrastructure.

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Youth Crime and Justice: Key Messages from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime', (2010), Criminology and Criminal Justice, Vol 10, pp 179-209
Abstract: Based on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, this article challenges the evidence-base which policy-makers have drawn on to justify the evolving models of youth justice across the UK (both in Scotland and England/Wales). It argues that to deliver justice, systems need to address four key facts about youth crime: serious offending is linked to a broad range of vulnerabilities and social adversity; early identification of at-risk children is not an exact science and runs the risk of labelling and stigmatizing; pathways out of offending are facilitated or impeded by critical moments in the early teenage years, in particular school exclusion; and diversionary strategies facilitate the desistance process.The article concludes that the Scottish system should be better placed than most other western systems to deliver justice for children (due to its founding commitment to decriminalization and destigmatization). However, as currently implemented, it appears to be failing many young people.

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Youth Justice?: The Impact of System Contact on Patterns of Desistance from Offending', (2007), European Journal of Criminology, Vol 4, pp 315-45
Abstract: This article assesses the effectiveness of the Scottish model of youth justice in the context of a growing body of international research which is challenging the ‘evidence-base’ of policy in many western jurisdictions. Drawing on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, it shows how labelling processes within agency working cultures serve to recycle certain categories of children into the youth justice system, whilst other serious offenders escape the tutelage of the formal system altogether. The deeper a child penetrates the formal system, the less likely they are to desist from offending. The article concludes that the key to reducing offending lies in minimal intervention and maximum diversion. While the Scottish system should be better placed than most other western systems at delivering such an agenda (due to its founding commitment to decriminalisation and destigmatisation), as currently implemented, it appears to be failing many young people.

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'No Way Out? ', (2007), Children in Scotland, Vol 73, pp 8-9

Susan McVie, 'Patterns of Deviance underlying the Age-crime Curve: The Long Term Evidence', (2005), Criminology and Criminal Justice, Vol 7
Abstract: The high prevalence of delinquent behaviour in the teenage years is well documented. The phenomenon that is the age-crime curve, which tends to peak in the mid to late teens, is widely agreed to cross both jurisdictional and temporal boundaries. However, analysis at such an aggregate level conceals important underlying differences between individuals and within different offence types. Furthermore, shifts in prevalence rates are not necessarily mirrored by such consistent changes in incidence rates (see Farrington, 1986). The plethora of cross-sectional studies carried out have been unable to shed light on the nuances of individual offending careers. Using longitudinal data collected from the first five sweeps of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, this paper shall explore patterns and trends in delinquent behaviour of a single age cohort from 12 to 16 years of age. Trends in both prevalence and incidence shall be explored in an attempt to explore the relationship between these two fundamental aspects of offending behaviour. And some exploratory work will be done to identify distinct groups of offender based on their involvement in delinquency over the course of their early teens.

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'The Usual Suspects?: Street-life, Young People and the Police', (2005), Criminal Justice, Vol 5, pp 5-36
Abstract: This article explores children's experience of policing. Drawing on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, it argues that the police may be unfairly targeting certain categories of young people. Evidence is presented on the ways in which police working rules serve to construct a population of permanent suspects among children. The article concludes that the police act less as legal subjects and more as class subjects in their interactions with young people and that the policing of children may serve to sustain and reproduce the very problems which the institution ostensibly attempts to contain or eradicate.

David J. Smith, Susan McVie, 'Theory and Method in the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime ', (2003), British Journal of Criminology, Vol 43, pp 169-95
Abstract: This paper summarizes the purposes and methods of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, a longitudinal study of 4,300 young people in the City of Edinburgh and the neighbourhoods where they live. The study is not concerned with early childhood influences, but with transitions and personal transformations during adolescence and early adulthood. It aims to explain why some, among all those with criminal inclinations, become offenders, and why some stop offending much sooner than others. Unlikely previous studies, it focuses in particular on explaining gender differences, and on the mechanisms leading to serious, long-term, and frequent offending. It aims to assess the influence of contacts with the official systems on subsequent criminal careers. Finally, it integrates explanations at the levels of the individual and local community. The rationale for the basic design of the study is set out, and some early findings are presented and discussed.

Chapters

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'The Case for Diversion and Minimum Necessary Intervention ' in Barry Goldson, John Muncie (ed.) Youth Crime and Justice (SAGE Publications Ltd 2015) 119-136

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Delivering Justice for Children and Young People Key Messages from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime' in Anita Dockley (ed.) Justice for Young People (Howard League for Penal Reform 2013) 3-14

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Critical Debates in Developmental and Life-course Criminology ' in Mike Maguire, Rod Morgan, Robert Reiner (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (Oxford University Press 2012) 531-562

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Youth Justice? The Impact of System Contact on Desistance from Offending' in Stephen Farrall, Richard Sparks, Shadd Maruna, Mike Hough (ed.) Escape Routes (Routledge 2011) 81-106
Abstract: This chapter assesses the effectiveness of the Scottish model of youth justice in the context of a growing body of international research that is challenging the 'evidence base' of policy in many western jurisdictions. Drawing on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, it shows how labelling processes within agency working cultures serve to recycle certain categories of children into the youth justice system, whereas other serious offenders escape the tutelage of the formal system altogether. The deeper a child penetrates the formal system, the less likely he or she is to desist from offending. The article concludes that the key to reducing offending lies in minimal intervention and maximum diversion. Although the Scottish system should be better placed than most other western systems at delivering such an agenda (owing to its founding commitment to decriminalization and destigmatization), as currently implemented it appears to be failing many young people.

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Youth Justice? The Impact of Agency Contact on Desistance from Offending' in Michael Little, Barbara Maughan (ed.) Effective Interventions for Children in Need (Ashgate Publishing 2010) pt II, ch 2
Abstract: This chapter assesses the effectiveness of the Scottish model of youth justice in the context of a growing body of international research which is challenging the ‘evidence-base’ of policy in many western jurisdictions. Drawing on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, it shows how labelling processes within agency working cultures serve to recycle certain categories of children into the youth justice system, whilst other serious offenders escape the tutelage of the formal system altogether. The deeper a child penetrates the formal system, the less likely they are to desist from offending. The article concludes that the key to reducing offending lies in minimal intervention and maximum diversion. While the Scottish system should be better placed than most other western systems at delivering such an agenda (due to its founding commitment to decriminalisation and destigmatisation), as currently implemented, it appears to be failing many young people.

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Youth Crime and Justice in Scotland ' in Hazel Croall, Gerry Mooney, Mary Munro (ed.) Criminal Justice in Scotland (Willan Publishing 2010) 67-89
Abstract: “Society is, we believe, seriously concerned to secure a more effective and discriminatory machinery for interventions for the avoidance and reduction of juvenile delinquency.” (Kilbrandon, 1964) This quotation from the report of the Kilbrandon committee which set up the existing system of juvenile justice in Scotland gives a flavour of the Scottish civic culture which has shaped Scotland’s unique institutions and processes for dealing with young offenders (McAra 2008). It highlights a sense of common-ownership of the problems posed by young offenders and a commitment to the development of effective practice. It also reflects a recurrent preoccupation of policy elites that extant structures of juvenile justice are inadequate to the task of reducing offending amongst children and young people and require to be reformed. This chapter on youth crime and justice overviews the historical development of Scottish juvenile justice and describes the operation of the current system. It also presents empirical data relating to the nature and pattern of youth crime in Scotland, including data from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime (the Edinburgh Study) and assesses the effectiveness of the system.

Susan McVie, Susan Wiltshire, 'Experience of Discrimination, Social Marginalisation and Violence A Comparative Study of Muslim and Non-Muslim Youth in Three EU Member States' in Scottish Centre for Crime & Justice Research (European Agency for Fundamental Rights 2010)
Abstract: This report presents the findings of a research study conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) during 2008/09 in France, Spain and the United Kingdom, which surveyed 1,000 children between the ages of 12 and 18 (young people) in each of the three Member States – 3,000 took part in the research survey in total. The survey set out to explore possible relationships between young people’s experiences of discrimination and social marginalisation, including experiences of racism, and their attitudes towards and actual engagement in violent behaviours.

Susan McVie, 'Criminal Careers and Young People ' in Monica Barry, Fergus McNeill (ed.) Youth Offending and Youth Justice (Jessica Kingsley 2009) 38-55
Abstract: This Chapter focuses on the research evidence underpinning developmental and life course criminology. Government policy is heavily influenced by developmental theories of offending, namely that offending in young adulthood is apparent from early childhood. But she asks to what extent crime is determined by and predictable from childhood, not least when most children who offend do not continue such behaviour into adulthood. McVie explores the literature on the age-crime curve and on criminal careers and identifies a range of dimensions which show promise in increasing our understanding about the developmental processes which lead to prolonged offending. However, she concludes that youth justice policies based on risk identification, prediction and prevention run the risk of inadvertently stigmatizing and criminalizing young people.

Susan McVie, 'Self-report Delinquency Surveys in Britain and Ireland ' in Renee Zauberman (ed.) Self-Reported Crime and Deviance Studies in Europe (VUB Press 2009) 155-88
Abstract: This chapter presents evidence on the existing research from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and Ireland on self-report delinquency (SRD) surveys, and contributes to Work Package 7 of the European Commission funded framework on Assessing Deviance, Crime and prevention in Europe. Key aims of the chapter are to summarise the main features of the research from these four jurisdictions and to highlight issues of good practice and methodological excellence.

Susan McVie, 'Enquetes de criminalite et de delinquance autoreportees en Grande-Bretagne et en Irlande ' in Renée Zauberman (ed.) Les Enquetes de delinquance et de deviance autoreportees en Europe (L'Harmattan 2009) 149-80
Abstract: Ce chapitre présente l'évidence sur la recherche existante de la Grande-Bretagne (l'Angleterre, l'Ecosse et le Pays de Galles) et l'Irlande sur la délinquance de rapport de soi (SRD) les enquêtes et contribue pour Travailler le Paquet 7 de la Commission européenne a financé le cadre sur la Déviance Évaluante, le Crime et la prévention en Europe. Les buts clé du chapitre sont de résumer les caractéristiques principales de la recherche de ces quatre juridictions et accentuer des éditions de bonne pratique et d'excellence méthodologique.

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Youth Justice? The Impact of Agency Contact on Desistance from Offending' in Barry Goldson, John Muncie (ed.) Youth Crime and Juvenile Justice (SAGE Publications Ltd 2009) pt ii, ch 3
Abstract: This chapter assesses the effectiveness of the Scottish model of youth justice in the context of a growing body of international research which is challenging the ‘evidence-base’ of policy in many western jurisdictions. Drawing on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, it shows how labelling processes within agency working cultures serve to recycle certain categories of children into the youth justice system, whilst other serious offenders escape the tutelage of the formal system altogether. The deeper a child penetrates the formal system, the less likely they are to desist from offending. The article concludes that the key to reducing offending lies in minimal intervention and maximum diversion. While the Scottish system should be better placed than most other western systems at delivering such an agenda (due to its founding commitment to decriminalisation and destigmatisation), as currently implemented, it appears to be failing many young people.

Susan McVie, 'Gender Differences in Adolescent Development and Violence Findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime' in Frieder Dünkel, Kirstin Drenkhahn (ed.) Youth Violence (Forum Verlag Godesberg GmbH, Munchengladbach 2003) 399-417

Susan McVie, 'Drifting into Substance Misuse Youth Transitions and Family Dynamics' in It's a Family Affair (Corporation of London 2003) 6-7

Working Papers

Susan McVie, 'Can Scotland shake off it's violent reputation? ' 2015

Susan McVie, Les Humphreys, Brian Francis, 'Understanding the crime drop in Scotland ' 2014

Susan McVie, Rebecca Pillinger, Paul Norris, 'Changing Patterns of Victimisation in Scotland 1993-2011 ' 2014

Susan McVie, 'Future of UK and Scotland scheme - Teaching Materials ' 2014

Susan McVie, Sarah MacQueen, Ben Bradford, Stephanie Fohring, 'Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2008/9 User Guide ' 2011

Conference Papers

Gwilym Pryce, Susan McVie, 'Scoping Study on the performance and market value of energy efficient homes ' 2014

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'The Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime: Informing Implementation of the GIRFEC Framework' 2011
Abstract: Invited paper to the Children and Families Strategy Group, Forth Ward of North Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh Council

Susan McVie, L. Levy, 'Gang Membership, Weapon Carrying and Serious Fighting among Young People: Findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime' 2011
Abstract: Invited paper for internal policy seminar for Justice ASD, Scottish Government, Edinburgh

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Four Facts from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime: Feeding into Practice' 2011
Abstract: Workshop with Neighbourhood Management Teams from City of Edinburgh Council

Susan McVie, Helen Brown, 'Statistics for Crime Analysts ' presented at Training Event for Fife Police Crime Analysts Edinburgh United Kingdom 2011

Sarah MacQueen, Paul Norris, Susan McVie, 'Examining Patterns of Police Reporting amongst Victims of Partner Abuse: Analysis of the SCJS 2008/09' 2011

Susan McVie, 'Youth Crime and Justice in Edinburgh: Implications for Practitioners' 2010
Abstract: Invited paper to senior Youth Justice and Social Work officials from City of Edinburgh Council

Jon Bannister, Susan McVie, 'Youth Gangs and Knife Crime in Scotland ' 2010
Abstract: Invited seminar for the Scottish Government's National Community Safely Convention, Glasgow

Susan McVie, 'Reflections on Ten Years of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime ' 2010
Abstract: Inaugural Lecture for the Lancaster Criminology Group, Lancaster University

Susan McVie, 'Understanding the Causes of Crime ' 2010
Abstract: Invited paper presented to a selected policy audience from the Scottish Government to review the Logic Modelling approach to policy development

Susan McVie, 'Lessons for Youth Justice in the City of Edinburgh: Findings from 10 Years of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime' 2010
Abstract: Invited seminar for Youth Justice Coordinators for South East Scotland, Edinburgh

Susan McVie, 'Early Intervention, Later Outcomes: Findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime' 2010
Abstract: Presented to the Community Justice Authority Convenor Development Event, SPS Training College, Polmont

Susan McVie, 'Young People, Crime and Desistance: Reflections on the Scottish Children's Hearing System' 2010
Abstract: Invited Lecture to the City of Edinburgh Children's Panel Training Group

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Facts about Youth Crime and Justice that any System should Fit ' 2010
Abstract: Invited Policy Briefing for the Scottish Government, Edinburgh

Sarah MacQueen, Susan McVie, 'Examining Patterns of Reporting amongst Victims of Partner Abuse ' 2010

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Key Lessons from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime ' 2009
Abstract: Invited Seminar for Scottish Government Education Department officials, Edinburgh

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Pathways to Conviction: Early Intervention and Labelling Effects' 2009
Abstract: Policy seminar for the Ministry of Justice on Key Findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, London

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Criminal Justice Pathways ' 2009
Abstract: Seminar on Key Findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Criminal Justice Pathways ' 2009
Abstract: Seminar on Key Findings from the Edinburgh Study on Youth Transitions and Crime

Susan McVie, 'Cycles of Labelling: The Impact of Early Intervention on Serious and Persistent Offending in the Late Teenage Years' 2008
Abstract: Paper presented at the European Society of Criminolgy Conference, Edinburgh.

Susan McVie, 'Keeping it in the Family?: Young People, Families and Crime' 2008
Abstract: Presented to the Knowledge Exchange Seminar to the Children and Youth Studies Network, Glasgow

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Youth Crime and Justice: Key Findings from the Edinburgh Study' 2007
Abstract: Presented at the Neighourhood Managers Seminar, Edinburgh City Council, Craigmillar, Edinburgh

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'The Future of Youth Justice: Response to the Minister for Justice' 2007
Abstract: Presented at 'An Audience with the Justice Minister', Public Seminar, Craigmillar Capacity Building Project, Craigmillar, Edinburgh

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'Violence, Victimisation and Vilification: Key Findings from the Edinburgh Study' 2007
Abstract: Presented at the Craigmillar Capacity Building Project Public Seminar

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'The Impact of Intervention on Youth Offending: Key Findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime' 2006
Abstract: Knowledge transfer and capacity building conference, Glasgow

Susan McVie, 'Animal Abuse amongst Young People: Trends, Trajectories and Links with Other Offending' 2006
Abstract: Invited Paper, RSPCA Headquarters, Kent

Susan McVie, Paul Norris, Gillian Raab, 'Adjusting for Non-response in a Longitudinal Survey: Comparisons of Weighting and Imputation' 2006
Abstract: The performance of weighting and imputation in adjusting for non-response is compared using six sweeps of longitudinal data from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime. This survey contains a large number of questions with ordinal responses where any response other than the lowest is often fairly rare. Once the appropriate covariates have been identified, weighting is relatively straightforward to carry out, whereas imputation for this type of data leads to many technical difficulties. Eventually, two of the six imputation strategies attempted produced reasonable results. The imputation methods produced greater differences from the observed data than weighting. Possible reasons for this are discussed along with the advantages and disadvantages of the two methods.

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, David Smith, 'Key Findings from the Edinburgh Study: Policy Implications' 2006
Abstract: Scottish Executive Justice Seminar, Edinburgh

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'What Works Revisited: Youth Justice, Cultural Context and Deviancy Amplification' 2005
Abstract: According to Muncie (2002), the search for consistently efficient and effective practice in a global context means that the dynamics of local contingencies are often overlooked. The youth justice system in Scotland is currently incorporating what works principles into dedicated programmes for child offenders and piloting fast track children's hearings for persistent offenders. These developments have the potential to undermine key elements of the Kilbrandon philosophy on which the current system was originally based, through their emphasis on specialist social work intervention focused on criminogenic need (rather than generic intervention based on the welfare needs of the child). The aim of this paper is to assess the relative merits of these alternative visions of youth justice in dealing with children and young people who offend, It is based on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, a longitudinal study of pathways into and out of offending for a cohort of 4,300 young people who started secondary school in the city of Edinburgh in 1998. Drawing on self-report data and agency records from the first four sweeps of the study, we argue that (1) the model of offending which can be derived from the study findings is broadly supportive of the Kilbrandon philosophy, (2) current policies targeting persistent offenders are based on a spurious scientific rationale potentially damaging to the indigenous institutional ethos within the Scottish system and (3) such policies are likely to amplify the very problems which they were designed to contain or eradicate.

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'The Edinburgh Study: Theory and Method' 2005
Abstract: Internal paper looking at the theoretical development and methods of design of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime.

Susan McVie, 'Offending and Anti-social Behaviour amongst Young People: Findings from the Edinbugh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime' 2003
Abstract: City of Edinburgh Council Conference, Edinburgh

Susan McVie, 'Tackling Crime and Anti-social Behaviour in Young People: An Evidence-based Approach' 2003
Abstract: Scottish Parliament's Cross-party Working Group on Children, Edinburgh

Susan McVie, P. Bradshaw, 'The Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime: Challenges and Selected Findings' 2003
Abstract: Social Research Association (Scotland) Seminar, Edinburgh

Susan McVie, P. Bradshaw, 'Youth Crime in Edinburgh: Evidence and Characteristics' 2003
Abstract: 6VT Seminar, Youth Café, Edinburgh

Susan McVie, J. Flint, J. Shute, R. Woodward, 'Youth Crime in Edinburgh: Gender and Criminology' 2000
Abstract: Scottish Criminology Conference, Edinburgh

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, 'The Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime: Gender and Social Control' 2000
Abstract: Challenges of Violence in the Lives of Girls and Young Women Conference, Glasgow

Susan McVie, 'The Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime: Theory and Methods' 2000
Abstract: Youth Justice and Crime Seminar, Home Office, London

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie, David Smith, J. Shute, 'The Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime ' 1998
Abstract: Centre for Law and Society Seminar, University of Edinburgh