"Peer Mentoring in a youth justice context: benefits and challenges”

SEAN CREANEY, ANNA BUSSU, Jayne Price , Samantha Burns

Research output: Contribution to conferenceSpeechpeer-review


This paper focuses on the design and development of participatory and strengths-based peer support interventions in Youth Justice, which involves young adults being recruited and trained to undertake peer advocate roles, supporting children involved in care or justice systems. Young people who have experienced challenges, overcome obstacles, and forged a positive path for themselves, can accrue ‘experiential knowledge’ (Borkman, 1976). Subsequently, they can be ‘experts by experience’, capable of providing unique insights, sharing knowledge and experiences of using or navigating justice services. Peer mentorship can therefore be considered a valuable pedagogical practice, because it values children and young people’s resources and it can reduce power imbalances. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with peer mentors and practitioners, this research paper provides in-depth insight and exploration by those delivering a peer mentoring scheme within a youth justice context. A thematic analysis was conducted to explore participants' opinions, attitudes and beliefs regarding the design and development of Peer Mentoring in a youth justice context. Adopting an appreciative inquiry and a reflective process, the main findings are discussed. It ends by setting out some key principles to progress peer mentoring, presenting, and reflecting upon how this principled and progressive practice can transform Youth Justice Services.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2023
EventBritish Society of Criminology Conference: Sustainable futures: remaking criminology in an age of global injustice - Preston, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Jun 202330 Jun 2023


ConferenceBritish Society of Criminology Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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