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Youth mentors’ experiences working with young people to support desistance from criminal behaviour within the community

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Darren JohnsonORCiD


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© 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited.Purpose: Young offender mentoring programmes aim to support young people’s desistance from offending, but despite the importance, there remains limited exploration into mentor experiences of supporting the young people. This study aims to explore how a community-based mentoring intervention supports desistance in young offenders by understanding the mentor's experiences, with a specific reflective focus on facilitators and barriers to their work. Design/methodology/approach: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven mentors from Northumbria Coalition against Crime, a youth and community service. Interview transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis, with external auditing conducted by the research supervisor. Findings: Two superordinate themes resulted: “Factors for engagement” and “Personal experiences”, with participant disclosures reflecting professional reward and a sense of success. This was interwoven with “burnout”, emotional investment and challenges linked to barriers to effectiveness. Challenges included the young people having external negative influences, multiple individuals involved in a person’s care and the barrier of in person activities during the coronavirus pandemic. The clinical importance of mentoring programmes, implications for future working practice and research limitations are considered. Practical implications: The clinical importance of mentoring programmes, implications for future working practice and research limitations are considered. Originality/value: These findings contribute to understanding mentors’ experiences of working with young people in the community, offering critical insight into the mentorship and wider service dynamics. Furthermore, it provides an inaugural evaluation of the Northumbria Coalition against Crime services.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Newton A, Robson M, Johnson D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice

Year: 2024

Pages: epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 20/03/2024

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

ISSN (print): 2056-3841

ISSN (electronic): 2056-385X

Publisher: Emerald Publishing


DOI: 10.1108/JCRPP-11-2023-0058


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