Irish Penal Reform Trust

2015 Report on the Garda Diversion Programme

25th January 2017

The Annual Report of the Committee Appointed to Monitor the Effectiveness of the Garda Diversion Programme 2015 has been published. The Report provides an overview of crime committed by young people in 2015 and the numbers of children referred for consideration for admission to the Diversion Programme. In 2015, 184 fewer children came to the notice of An Garda Síochána than in 2014.

The Diversion Programme promotes restorative justice and the use of restorative practices as a way of working with children and young people whose behaviour has caused harm or distress to their victims. The focus is on repairing the harm caused to a victim or caused by the criminal behaviour. In 2015, the Diversion Programme administered 891 cautions using this approach, and where the victim was present and included in the process.

Figures at a glance:

  • In 2015, a total of 9,807 children were referred to the Diversion Programme and 7,282 (74%) were admitted to the Programme;
  • The children referred were involved in 19,513 incidents, which is 2% lower than the 2014 figure, suggesting that juvenile offences are now at the lowest level ever recorded;
  • 4,860 (50%) of the children who were admitted to the Diversion Programme (7,282) were given an informal caution, i.e. a caution without supervision by a Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer (JLO). This compares to 4,925 (49%) in 2014;
  • Theft and related offences (28.6%), public order (22.7%), and damage to property and to the environment (11.3%) continue to be the main categories of offences for which children were referred;
  • The Garda Programme of Restorative Justice continued to develop, promoting restorative practice in youth diversion intervention. JLOs used Restorative Justice in 891 referrals;
  • The report shows that 1,479 (15%) children were deemed unsuitable for admission to the Diversion Programme in 2015, compared to 1,582 (16%) in 2014.

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