Written answers

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Department of Justice and Equality

Garda Youth Diversion Projects

Photo of Jim O'CallaghanJim O'Callaghan (Dublin Bay South, Fianna Fail)
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144. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of young persons engaged with by Garda youth diversion programmes in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44153/19]

Photo of David StantonDavid Stanton (Cork East, Fine Gael)
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The Garda Youth Diversion Programme is a statutory programme under Part 4 of the Children Act 2001, as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2006, which focuses on preventing criminal behaviour as well as diversion from the criminal justice system and rehabilitation of children between 10 and 18 years of age. The programme is an essential part of Government strategy to help tackle youth crime, administered by An Garda Síochána, and it is very important that it operates effectively.

As the Deputy may be aware, the operation of the Garda Diversion Programme is monitored by a Committee established under Section 44 of the Children Act 2001, whose annual reports are laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas. These reports include statistics on referrals to the Garda Diversion Programme.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the number of children referred for consideration under the Garda Diversion Programme in 2017 was 10,607. The figures for 2018 and to date in 2019 are not yet available. However, I am informed the 2018 Report will be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas before the end of this year.

The Deputy may also wish to be aware that an expert Steering Group is currently developing a new Youth Justice Strategy, including a review of the Children Act. The Steering Group commenced its work in February and has had a series of meetings during this year which will continue into next year.

The Group is tasked with advising and guiding the development of the new Strategy, including consideration of the full range of issues connected to children and young people at risk of coming into contact with the criminal justice system, from early intervention and preventative work, including family support, diversion from crime, through to court processes and facilities, supervision of offenders, detention and reintegration and support post release. It is intended to have a draft Strategy for public consultation by the end of this year and that the Strategy will be finalised in the first half of 2020.


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