|Author||Australian Institute of Criminology|
|Source/Publisher||Australian Institute of Criminology|
|Subjects||Crime prevention, Juvenile justice|
This brief paper suggests that in a crime prevention context, mentoring is often directed towards young people already involved in the criminal justice system or ‘at-risk’ of engaging in criminal activity. Such programs are targeted towards secondary prevention as opposed to universal prevention, within either multi-component or stand-alone programs. Current prevention literature on developmental pathways identifies risk and protective factors that are associated with young people engaging in risk-taking behaviour. It is argued that mentoring may seek to address risk factors associated with negative outcomes such as low achievement in school, anti-social peers and lack of neighbourhood attachment, as well as seeking to increase protective factors such as skills development, pro-social attitudes and social bonds. While there have been few evaluations of the long-term impact of mentoring programs, some positive short-term outcomes have been identified, including reductions in offending behaviour, completion of juvenile justice orders, reductions in substance misuse, and increased participation in education, training and employment. The paper lists good practice components that may lead to effective mentoring programs, including those specific to Indigenous youth.
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