Irish Penal Reform Trust

2014 Report on the Garda Diversion Programme

22nd March 2016

The Department of Justice and Equality has published the Annual Report of the Committee Appointed to Monitor the Effectiveness of the Diversion Programme 2014.

Before any young person is brought before the courts, they must be considered for a caution. The decision to caution or prosecute is made by a Garda Superintendent at the Garda Youth Diversion Office. This alternative programme for dealing with young people who commit an offence is known as the Diversion Programme.

This programme operates under legislation as set out in the Children Act, 2001. The figures outlined in the report have been collated by the Garda Diversion Programme, which essentially offers an alternative to the courts system when dealing with cases of juvenile crime.


  • The number of individual children referred was 9,991. Compared to 10,420 in 2013. Of those referred 7,451 (74%) were admitted to the Programme;
  • The total number of incidents referred to the Diversion Programme during 2014 was 19,854 which represents a 3% reduction in referrals, compared to the figure of 20,536 in 2013;
  • The Garda Programme of Restorative Justice continued to develop, promoting restorative practice in youth diversion intervention. Juvenile Liaison Officers used Restorative Justice in 993 referrals;
  • 70% of children referred have just one referral while 6% have 6 or more referrals in 2014. Of those receiving 1 referral in 2014, 71% are male and 29% female. Children with 6 or more referrals were predominantly male with just 8% female;
  • 1,582 (16%) children were considered not suitable for inclusion in the Programme compared to 1,652 (16%) in 2013.

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