Providing a pathway to community-based psychosocial or mental health support services for young people following initial encounters with police: a scoping review

David Baker, Krista Fisher, Matthew Hamilton, Simon Rice, Rosemary Purcell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Offending behaviour peaks during adolescence and most lifetime mental ill-health has its onset before 18 years of age. An overlap in offending behaviour and mental ill-health is also associated with an increased risk of crime victimisation. Best-practice approaches to intervene early with these cohorts are unclear. This study aimed to identify evidence for the acceptability and effectiveness of programs that divert young people from an early encounter with police to community-based psychosocial or mental health support. A Participant-Concept-Context model was used to determine literature search terms. A search of databases for peer-reviewed articles (n = 3998) and an Internet search for grey literature documents (n = 505) was conducted. Nine eligible articles and five documents were included in the review. Analysis of two models found improvements in daily functioning, emotion regulation and reduced self-harm potential. The importance of collaborative relationships between the police, service providers and other stakeholders for effective program delivery was regularly reported. There is emerging evidence of the acceptability and effectiveness of existing diversion or early intervention programs, but limited evidence for victim support services. More research is needed to understand young people's preferences for pathway models and how crime victimisation support can be incorporated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-382
Number of pages23
JournalCurrent Issues in Criminal Justice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Diversion
  • early intervention
  • offending
  • pathways
  • police
  • victimisation
  • youth justice

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