Home > Reducing youth crime in Ireland: an evaluation of Le Chéile mentoring.

O'Dwyer, Kieran (2017) Reducing youth crime in Ireland: an evaluation of Le Chéile mentoring. Dublin: Le Chéile.

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This report is based on a detailed evaluation of the Le Chéile volunteer mentoring programme and its activities over the period 2013-2015. The report has also shown also that for every euro spent on the programme, €4.35 is returned in social and economic benefits. This includes benefits such as avoiding detention, better health and engagement in education.

The research was carried out by Dr Kieran O’Dwyer of KC Consulting – an independent research, evaluation and consultancy service.

According to the report, of the 28% reduction in reoffending during the period of being mentored, 49% can be directly attributed to mentoring. It also revealed that the total value of Le Chéile’s mentoring service in 2015 was €4,755,614 and cost at €1,093,647, giving a return on investment of €4.35 for every euro. It found that mentoring has significant positive impacts for young people over a range of areas, with the biggest gains made in self-confidence, hopefulness, communications, engagement in activities and, crucially, offending behaviour.

Le Cheile Mentoring is a one-to-one relationship-based support service in which volunteers from local communities provide a positive role model to a young person by acting as an advisor and friendly support. It also now delivers parent mentoring to offer parents support and help in managing their child’s offending behaviour.

Commenced in 2005 in Coolock, Le Chéile, which partners with the Probation Services to reduce youth offending behaviour in the community, is the first mentoring programme for young offenders in the country and today operates in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Clare, South Tipperary, Midlands, Waterford, Meath, with the objective now to expand it to other locations.

In 2015 it mentored 152 young people aged 12 to 21 as well as 49 parent mentees, with volunteers giving 3,678 hours of their personal time to the young people and their parents.

One of the key recommendations in the report was that, given the high social return from mentoring, Le Chéile should continue to be resourced and expanded to regions in Ireland where there is unmet or latent demand.

For young person mentees, key benefits also include:
•      Reductions in offending behaviour (average 28%, with attribution of nearly half to mentoring);
•      Reductions in alcohol (12%) and drug use (16%);
•      Improved self-confidence (25%), hopefulness (25%), and happiness (23%);
•      Greater involvement in activities outside the home (28%);
•      Greater involvement or reengagement in education, work and training (25%);
•      Improved communication skills (24%);
•      Moving away from negative peers (9% improvement in relationship with peers), and
•      Improved relationships with parents (11%), other family (8%), & persons in authority (23%).

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
March 2017
36 p.
Le Chéile
Place of Publication
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)
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