Minister Fitzgerald launches ‘Kerry Empowering Youth – KEY’ a
new service delivery model for addressing youth crime
Thursday 14 May 2015
Frances Fitzgerald, TD, today launches a new delivery model for services designed to
address youth crime.
‘Kerry Empowering Youth – KEY’, A Kerry Garda Youth Justice Divisional Model is
Ireland’s first Garda Divisional Model of Youth Justice programmes delivery.
In 2013, Kerry Diocesan Youth Service who delivered 6 Garda Youth Diversion
Projects across Kerry, wanted to be able to reach young people who lived outside of
the catchment area of the locations of the projects. Garda Youth Diversion Projects
are run by community-based organisations on behalf of An Garda Síochána working in
partnership with the Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS).
Together, Kerry Divisional Garda Management, local Garda Juvenile Liaison Officers
KDYS Management and Youth Justice Workers in the projects ( with support from
Community Programmes, IYJS), developed a pilot model of delivery to extend the
Garda Youth Diversion Project service out to the entire county within existing
The new service delivery model has been very successful and has enabled KDYS in
partnership with Kerry Divisional Gardaí to reach over 100 young people so far who
would not have otherwise received support from trained Youth Justice Workers. While
overall nationally, referrals to the Garda Youth Diversion Programme are down,
innovative models of delivery will allow access to supports from Youth Justice Workers
to be expanded to deliver services to young people currently beyond their reach and
to target resources more effectively.
Launching the new service delivery model today in the Royal Irish Academy on
Dawson Street, the Minister congratulated KDYS and Kerry Gardaí on the delivery of
the new model and for their commitment to young people. The Minister said: “The
new service is the first of its kind in the country and highlights the benefits
of different organisations both community based like the KDYS and statutory
bodies like the Gardaí and Irish Youth Justice working together to benefit
young people. The new service will make a difference to the lives of young
people in Kerry due to the dedication and commitment of all those involved.”
Minster Fitzgerald also said: “The national trend in youth crime is one of
reduced incidences of offending and lower numbers of referrals to the Garda
Youth Diversion Programme. This is good news. It indicates that the Garda
Youth Diversion Programme has had some success and has made significant
inroads in targeting supports to young people that effectively divert them
towards more positive life choices. Fewer young people are coming to the
attention of the Gardaí. This gives us a great opportunity to build on that
trend and to better target our resources - towards those who do continue to
come to their attention, including those who are repeat offenders, with the
highest risk, and those young people living in areas who previously did not
have access to Garda Youth Diversion Projects. With the launch of ‘KEY’,
KDYS, Kerry Garda Division with support from IYJS are leading the way.”
Note for editors:
Community Based Programmes (Department of Justice and Equality)
Youth justice crime reduction / crime prevention community programmes are
specifically targeted at young offenders and those at serious risk of offending. They
provide essential support to the Garda Diversion Programme and to the effectiveness
of the Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer system operated by An Garda Síochána and are a
vital ingredient in enhancing community policing partnerships.
The purpose of youth crime intervention work is to engage young people in a process
of learning and development that enables them to make positive lifestyle choices. The
youth justice system through its community based projects targets early interventions
to address those at risk of offending behaviour through the Garda Youth Diversion
Projects (GYDPs) and the Garda Diversion Programme and links with other service
providers in supporting pro-social messages to young people.
Their objectives are to:
Promote focussed and effective interventions through GYDPs to challenge and divert young
people from offending behaviour.
Utilise GYDP resources in areas of greatest need and to establish effective crime prevention
supports in co-operation with other youth service providers nationwide.
Actively promote crime prevention policy through focussed educational interventions
influencing positive development of young people towards becoming responsible citizens.
Garda Youth Diversion Projects
Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) are nationwide, community-based, multiagency crime prevention initiatives, funded by the Dept of Justice and Equality
through the Community Programmes Unit, Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS), which
seek to divert young people from becoming involved in anti-social and/or criminal
behaviour. The GYDPs are designed to engage with young people who have been
identified as being at risk of involvement in criminal or anti-social behaviour. They
operate in tandem with the Garda Diversion Programme. They aim to bring about the
conditions whereby the behavioural patterns of young people towards law and order
can develop and mature through positive interventions and interaction with the
project. The projects are particularly targeted at 12-17 year old “at risk” youths in
communities where a specific need has been identified and where there is a risk of
them remaining within the justice system.
Supported by the Garda National Youth Diversion Office (GNYDO), each project is
managed by a Community Based Organisation (CBO) under the terms of a Funding
Agreement. CBOs are required to ensure that best practice is followed in terms of
quality of service and financial accountability.
Breakdown of CBO distribution of projects:
Youth Work Ireland (15 individual CBOs) – 37 projects
Foróige – 34 projects
Catholic Youth Care – 11 projects
18 Independent CBOs (1 project each)
Young People’s Probation (YPP)
YPP is a division of the Probation Service with specialised resources to work with
young people aged 12 to 18 who come before the courts. The Probation Service
provides a dedicated input ensuring a child and family centred focus in addressing the
presenting issues within the criminal justice context. The work of the Service is
supported through a national network of community based projects. This approach
allows for a national approach for the assessment and supervision of young persons,
at all times delivered within the context of local need.
Just under €17 million has been allocated to IYJS Community Programmes in 2015.
Just over €11 million is allocated to deliver the Garda Youth Diversion Projects
(incorporating Local Drugs Task Force Projects).
Nearly €5 million is allocated to Young Persons Probation Community Projects in
From 2015, GYDP and some YPP will be co-funded under the Programme for
Employment, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) of the European Social Fund 2014-2020.
It is expected that €84 million will be allocated to the GYDP and YPP over the course
of PEIL.
Other Community Programmes developments in 2015
During 2014/2015 progress continued to be made on measures to align resource
allocation models to address local youth crime needs. A pilot, undertaken in the Kerry
Garda Division, facilitated a service delivery across the full division/ county as
opposed to the traditional GYDP catchment areas. The pilot proved to be successful
and the new service delivery model ‘Kerry Empowering Youth’ is being launched on
the 14th May 2015.
The Irish Youth Justice Service opened discussions with Garda Management and
community based organisations delivering GYDPs in Cork City to commence a similar
process of realigning service delivery to reach areas which are not currently served by
the existing projects in the city.
Four new measures were also trialled in 15 selected GYDP sites across the country
under the capacity-building & change management programme of the Garda Youth
Diversion Projects in 2014 to enable them to better focus on local youth crime
problems. In 2015 the successful strands of the trial will be mainstreamed to all
GYDPs and all Youth Justice Workers will be trained in the use of the Risk Assessment
model YLS/CMI 2.0.
Irish Youth Justice Service
The Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS) is responsible for leading and driving reform in
the youth justice area under the principles of the Children Act 2001. Responsibility for
the criminal justice elements of the Children Act 2001 is with the Minister for Justice
and Equality. Responsibility for children detained on remands or sentenced on
conviction transferred to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs with effect from
1st January 2012 (S.I. 668/2012). It is staffed by officials from both Departments and
is located in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
The remit of IYJS is to improve the delivery of youth justice services and reduce youth
offending. This challenge is met by focusing on diversion and rehabilitation involving
greater use of community-based interventions and the promotion of initiatives to deal
with young people who offend. The key stakeholders supporting IYJS in its work
include An Garda Síochána, Probation Service, Courts Service; Tusla, HSE, the
Children Detention Schools, management and staff of community based organisations
delivering Garda Youth Diversion Projects and Young Person Probation Community
Children Act 2001 principles
The youth justice system should be considered in its entirety, from the Garda
Diversion Programme through to the Children Courts and the Children Detention
Schools. Under the Children Act 2001 the age of criminal responsibility is 12 years
and a “child” is defined as a person under the age of 18 years. The principles of the
Act require the various authorities to apply incrementally a series of "filters" or tests
to each case where a child comes into conflict with the law. These principles include:A child who accepts responsibility for his/ her offending behaviour should be diverted from
criminal proceedings, where appropriate.
Children have rights and freedoms before the law equal to those enjoyed by adults and a right to
be heard and to participate in any proceedings affecting them.
Detention should be imposed as a last resort and may only be imposed if it is the only suitable
way of dealing with the child.
Due regard to the interests of the victim.
A child’s age and level of maturity may be taken into consideration as mitigating factors in
determining a penalty.
The first main filter is the Garda Diversion Programme, involving the informal caution (without
supervision) and the formal (supervised) caution, including possible involvement with a Garda
Youth Diversion Project (GYDP). The second main filter is provided by the non-custodial options
available to the Courts, including dismissal under the Probation Act and unsupervised sanctions
(fines, disqualification, peace bond, curfew etc.). The next stage involves the Probation supervised
sanctions (community service and other community sanctions). Finally, as a last resort, detention
may be used.
‘Tackling Youth Crime’ Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018
This Plan has been developed in consultation with key stakeholders involving
representatives from the Department of Justice and Equality, An Garda Síochána;
Courts Service; Probation Service; Child and Family Agency; the National Education
Welfare Board; and Board of Management of the Children Detention Schools, youth
justice workers and managers attached to the Garda Youth Diversion Projects. The
views of young people have also informed the development of the Plan, in particular
those expressed in the national consultation published in the report Life as a Child and
Young Person in Ireland; Report of a National Consultation which was conducted by
Department of Children and Youth Affairs to inform the development of the Children
and Young People’s Policy Framework.
The Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018 is a follow up to the National Youth Justice
Strategy 2008-2010. It builds on the work done through the initial Strategy but will
have a greater focus on performance through the implementation of evidence-based
policies. It also forms part of the National Anti-Crime Strategy being developed by the
Department of Justice and Equality as part of the White Paper on Crime process, with
its focus on crime reduction and safer communities. Also, while the Youth Justice
Action Plan 2014-2018 focuses on changing the offending behaviour of young people
involved in the youth justice system, it also complements the outcomes of the
proposed Children and Young People’s Policy Framework (CYPPF) being developed in
the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, with its focus on better outcomes for
children and families.
The focus of the Action Plan will be to continue the downward trends in high volume
crime and detention, (Youth crime constitutes up to 15% of all crime (excluding road
traffic offences). The typical offending that young people become involved in (e.g.
public order crime, alcohol and drug misuse) is often distressing for members of the
public and while we know that youth crime will always be a concern, we also now
know from hard data that the vast majority of young people grow out of crime),
becoming more adept in understanding and intervening in more serious crime
offending patterns; and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of these
interventions in addressing the behaviour and needs of these children. The Plan
involves evidence-informed targeted interventions to achieve better outcomes for
children who get into trouble with the law, and to reduce crime leading to safer
communities. Importantly, the voice and experiences of children involved in the youth
justice system have influenced the development of these interventions.
High Level Goals of Action Plan: To work together to ensure public confidence in dealing with young people in trouble with the law
To strengthen and develop our evidence base to support more effective policies and services,
having regard to the voice of young people
To review and strengthen targeted interventions to reduce offending and divert young people
from the criminal justice system
To promote and increase the use of community measures, including restorative justice, for young
people who offend
To provide a safe, secure environment and necessary support for detained young people to
assist their re-integration into the community

Minister Fitzgerald launches Kerry GYDP Model