Youth mentoring in the Irish Youth Justice Service : perceptions, motivations and challenges from the mentor's perspective

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Russell, Tina
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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Youth offending has been the subject of controversial debates in recent years with reports of unsuitable detention centres for young offenders failing young people in attempts to rehabilitate them. The introduction of the Children Act 2001 brought about a change in policy by attempting to keep young offenders out of prison for as long as possible and to attempt to rehabilitate them within their own communities using community sanctions. The Probation Service of Ireland established Le Chéile in 2005 under the requirements of the Children Act 2001 to provide a mentoring service to children and young people who come in contact with the Probation Service. The aim of this research is to explore the sentiments, motivations and challenges of the adult mentors who volunteer in this service. The research found that the volunteer mentors who provide the service believe it to be a positive approach adopted by the Irish Youth Justice System and the commitment required from them to fulfil the role is worthwhile if there is chance that it may provide guidance and support to prevent at-risk young people from reoffending. Author keywords: Youth crime, mentoring, youth justice