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Institute of Criminology



Sara was appointed as an Assistant Professor in Applied Criminology and Police Management on the Police Executive Programme in March 2023.

Sara came to Cambridge in 2011 to complete the MPhil in Criminological Research program at the Institute of Criminology. In September 2012 she was awarded the MPhil degree (with distinction) for her dissertation entitled: “The association of school bullying with drug use and weapon carrying, a systematic review and meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies.”

She was awarded her PhD in July 2018. She was supervised by Professor Manuel Eisner, Director of the Violence Research Centre. Her doctoral thesis focused on the evaluation of an intervention aimed at reducing school exclusions by utilising a randomised controlled trial design. Sara has been working with the Centre since 2017 and was promoted to Research Associate in 2018. She has been teaching at the University of Cambridge as Associate Lecturer since 2015.

Before joining Cambridge University, Sara worked for the Chilean government, where she took part in the design and implementation of the new policy for the Juvenile Justice System (20.084 Act). This policy addressed the special needs and circumstances of young people, between the ages of 14 and 18, who commit crime. She is still associated with Alberto Hurtado University, where she held a position of lecturer in the School of Social Sciences. 


  • Evidence Based Crime Prevention
  • School Exclusion
  • School Bullying
  • Meta-analysis
  • Randomised Control Trials
  • Social policy


Key publications: 
  • Cowan, D., Strang, H., Sherman, L., and Valdebenito, S. (2019, Submitted, under revision) Reducing repeat offending through less prosecution in Victoria, Australia: Opportunities for increased diversion of offenders. Cambridge Journal of Evidence Based Policing.
  • Valdebenito, S., Murray, A,. Hughes, C,…Eisner, M. (2019, Submitted, under revision) Evidence for Better Lives: A comparative birth-cohort study on exposure to violence in eight low- and middle-income countries – Foundational Research. BMC Public Health.
  • Valdebenito, S., Eisner, M., Murray, A., Averdijk, M., & Ribeaud, D. (To be submitted). Bidirectional association between teacher-child bond and oppositional behaviour against teachers in adolescence: A longitudinal analysis from ages 11 to 15. Aggressive Behaviour.
  • Valdebenito, S., Eisner, M., Farrington, D., Ttofi, M., Sutherland, A., Cope, A. (2019) What can we do to reduce disciplinary school exclusion? Journal of Experimental Criminology,
  • Krisch, M., Averdijk, M., Valdebenito, S., & Eisner, M. (2019). Buying and selling sex: A review of the prevalence, correlates, and contexts of transactional sex among youths. Archives of Sexual Behaviour. DOI:
  • Murray, A., Kayser, D., Valdebenito, S., Hughes, C., ...Eisner, M. (2018) The intergenerational effects of intimate partner violence in pregnancy: Mediating pathways and implications for prevention. Trauma, Violence and Abuse, DOI: 10.1177/1524838018813563.
  • Valdebenito, S., Eisner, M., Farrington, D., Ttofi, M., Sutherland, A. (2018) School-based interventions for reducing disciplinary school exclusion: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Campbell Collaboration, Crime and Justice. DOI 10.4073/csr.2018:01
  • Valdebenito, S., Ttofi, M., Eisner, M. & Gaffney, H. (2017) Weapon carrying in and out of school among pure bullies, pure victims and bully-victims: A systematic review and meta-analysis of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Aggression and Violent Behaviour 33: 62-77.
  • Valdebenito, S., Ttofi, M. & Eisner, M. (2015) Prevalence rates of drug use among school bullies and victims: A systematic review and meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies. Aggression and Violent Behaviour, 23:137-146. DOI: 10.1016/j.avb.2015.05.004
  • Obsuth, I., Sutherland A., Pilbeam, L., Scott, S., Valdebenito, S., Carr, R. & Eisner, M. (2014) London Education and Inclusion Project (LEIP): A cluster-randomised controlled trial protocol of an intervention to reduce antisocial behaviour and improve educational/occupational attainment for pupils at risk of school exclusion. BMC Psychology 2:24 
Assistant Professor in Applied Criminology & Police Management
Dr Sara  Valdebenito

Contact Details

Room 3.11
01223 767279