PRESS RELEASE - Irish Youth Justice Service

Minister Shatter publishes the Annual Report of the Committee
appointed to monitor the effectiveness of the Garda Diversion
Programme 2012
The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter, T.D., publishes the
2012 Annual Report on the Garda Diversion Programme.
The Minister noted the reduction in the number of children coming to the
attention of An Garda Síochána in 2012 compared to the previous year. This
reduction continues the yearly downward trend since 2007. The figures show
that 563 less children came to the notice of An Garda Síochána in 2012,
representing a 4.4% decrease on 2011. The Minister also welcomed the
expansion of the restorative justice process with a 15% increase in practice on
2011 figures.
The Minister noted that the majority of children who were admitted to the
Programme were given an informal caution, i.e. a caution without supervision by
a Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer (6,265). A caution without supervision is
generally applied for a first offence or a repeat minor offence.
2,840 children were given a formal caution, with a period of JLO supervision.
1,850 children were deemed unsuitable for diversion and these files were
returned to the local Superintendent for possible prosecution.
The top 3 youth offence categories for 2012 were Public Order and Social Code
Offences (29%), Theft and Related Offences (25%) and Damage to Property and the
Environment (10%). These offence categories percentages are almost identical with
the previous year.
The Minister noted that 80% of young people referred to the Programme were
admitted. This reflects ongoing efforts of the youth justice system to find alternative
means to Court to deal with offending and to prevent future offending.
The Minister acknowledged the key role of the nationwide network of Garda Youth
Diversion Projects in supporting the Programme and committed to continue to protect,
as far as possible, the resources available for these projects. He indicated also that the
work of the Garda Analysis Service now being undertaken to provide the local and
national picture of youth crime will be key to enabling more effective planning and
service delivery to deal with youth crime.
Finally, the Minister indicated that the Government remains firmly committed to
continuing its work under the Programme for Government to impact on youth crime
and on anti-social behaviour.
Note for Editors:
The Diversion Programme Monitoring Committee comprises of 4 members.
Its structure and terms of reference for the Committee are set out in Section 44
of the Children Act 2001, as amended. The chairperson and one member are
Gardaí and are appointed following consultation with the Garda Commissioner.
The two civilian members are appointed directly by the Minister for Justice and
The Garda Diversion Programme operates in accordance with Part 4 of the
Children Act 2001, as amended, and under the general superintendence and
control of the Garda Commissioner. The aim of the Diversion Programme is to
deal with children who offend, by way of administering a formal or informal
caution, thus diverting the offender away from the courts and minimising the
likelihood of further offending. The Diversion Programme embraces,
whenever possible, the principles of restorative justice and, at all times, it pays
the highest regard to the needs of the victims. The Programme has proven to be
successful in diverting young people away from crime by offering guidance
and support to young offenders and their families.
Garda Youth Diversion Projects are funded by Community Programmes
Unit of the Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS) under the Department of Justice
and Equality. The projects are community-based, multi-agency crime
prevention / crime reduction initiatives which, primarily, seek to divert young
people who have been involved in anti-social and/or criminal behaviour by
providing suitable activities to facilitate personal development, and promote
civic responsibility and improve long-term employability prospects. By doing
so, the projects also contribute to improving the quality of life within
communities and to enhancing Garda/community relations. The projects may
also work with young people who are significantly at risk of becoming
involved in anti-social and/or criminal behaviour. Essentially the projects
provide a resource to An Garda Síochána and to Juvenile Liaison Officers in
particular, in the implementation of the Diversion Programme. There are
currently 100 of these projects operating throughout the country. Most projects
are located within areas of high social deprivation.