The Evidence Portal

Youth mentoring: Evidence review

Youth mentoring, a consistent and prosocial relationship to support positive youth development, is a popular diversion approach in youth justice. 

The University of Sydney and the Department of Communities and Justice conducted an evidence review on youth mentoring programs that divert high-risk young people from coming into contact with the criminal justice system. 

The evidence review identified five core components that are common across mentoring programs and recommended as standard program components that should be delivered by youth mentoring programs:

  • Mentor screening and matching
  • Mentor training and supervision
  • Engagement
  • Personal and life skills development
  • Social networks and community engagement

The evidence review identified five evidence-informed youth mentoring programs:

Key outcomes for these programs include reduced risk of entry (or re-entry) into the youth justice system; anti-social behaviour; and criminal activity.

These programs share a common focus on ensuring mentors are carefully screened and selected and are guided and supported throughout the program.

See our Evidence to Action Note, Youth Mentoring: diverting young people from justice involvement (PDF , 291.9 KB), for more information about the evidence review. 

For more details about how the evidence review was conducted (e.g. search strings, databases searched) see the Youth Mentoring Evidence Review Protocol (PDF , 764.6 KB).

Last updated:

15 Dec 2022

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