Youth Mentoring as a Viable Crime Prevention Strategy: Evidence and Ontario policy, with reflections from some mentors

URL: ruor.uottawa.ca/bitstream/10393/37250/3/Bradley_Jeffrey_2018_thesis.pdf

Youth mentoring can be a cost-effective way to reduce the likelihood of offending. Best practices include: outreach to vulnerable youth, involving parents, screening and training mentors, matching mentors and mentees based on background, having mentoring connected to a larger strategy, following a developmental approach, and developing standards for implementation.


Chapter four of this thesis focuses on the effectiveness of four programs that involved mentoring - Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Youth Inclusion Program, Mentoring Plus, and Quantum Opportunities Program. Research has shown some positive impacts on the risk factors for crime and reductions in youth offending. The social return on investment was not evaluated for all programs, but a study of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program showed an $18 return for every dollar invested.

Research on mentoring relationships showed that when mentors focus on the assets of the youth, role modeling, maintaining strong commitment, and ensuring the duration of the  relationship, they could foster a lasting emotional bond with youth. The best practice for an effective youth mentoring program included: outreaching to disadvantaged youth, involving parents, screening and training mentors, matching mentors based on shared interest and background, integrating mentoring programs with other supports, mentoring should be a holistic developmental approach, and robust implementation of developed standards. The evidence shows that some mentoring programs have addressed amenable risk factors and reduced offending. Relationship development and best practices provide some insights into considerations for future programs.

Topics: Safety, Bullying and violence prevention, Crime prevention
Resource Type: strategies and interventions
Publisher: University of Ottawa (thesis)
Date Last Updated: 2021-08-29 10:06:20

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