Mentoring and crime prevention : what is good practice?


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.

Copyright Information

Material appearing at this site constitutes copyright of the Australian Institute of Criminology, the Commonwealth of Australia or the Criminology Research Council unless otherwise endorsed. Material on this site does not necessarily reflect the policy position of the Australian Government. Material on this site is intended for your general use and information. You may distribute any copies of downloaded material, in unaltered, complete form only, for your personal, non-commercial use subject to proper attribution of the Australian Institute of Criminology, the Commonwealth of Australia and other authors as the case may be. All other rights are reserved. Requests for further authorisation should be directed to: Manager, Communications and Information Services Australian Institute of Criminology GPO Box 2944 Canberra ACT 2601 Australia Contact the Institute