The New Zealand Fire Awareness and Intervention Programme: Reach, Uptake and Barriers to Engagement

Dr Nichola Tyler1, Dr Clare-Ann Fortune1, Professor Louise  Dixon1, Dr Tia Neha1

1Victoria University Of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

Deliberate firesetting is an enduring global public health issue, which significantly impacts the economy, the community, the environment, and human life (Tyler et al., 2019). A significant proportion of deliberate fires are reported to be started by children and adolescents, with up to a third of young people in community samples reporting having engaged in this behaviour (Del Bove et al., 2008; MacKay et al., 2009). Fire safety education is the most commonly provided intervention for youth firesetting. In New Zealand, the Fire Awareness Intervention Programme (FAIP) is the sole intervention available for youth firesetting behaviour. Although previous research suggests the FAIP is effective in reducing rates of repeat firesetting (Lambie et al., 2009), the number of referrals to the intervention have declined. Given the significant public health issue that deliberate firesetting represents, understanding how to maximise the reach and uptake of interventions that reduce the risk of further firesetting is of high priority. The current research aimed to examine the reach and uptake of the FAIP as well as facilitators and barriers to engagement with the programme. Interviews, focus groups, and qualitative surveys were conducted with FAIP practitioners, referring organisations, and families of young people referred to the FAIP. Reflexive thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) was used to generate themes which represent facilitators and barriers to engagement experienced by the three groups. The findings of the research will be presented and the implications of these for practice will be discussed.


Nichola Tyler is a Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her primary research interests focus on understanding deliberate firesetting and the etiology, assessment and treatment of this behaviour in both youth and adults.

Clare-Ann Fortune is a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Forensic Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her key areas of research interest are risk assessment, offender rehabilitation and ethical issues associated with young people’s interactions with the justice system.

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