The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews TD, today welcomed the publication, by the Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS), of ‘Designing Effective Local Responses to Youth Crime: A baseline analysis of the Garda Youth Diversion Projects’.

Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) are community based multi-agency crime prevention initiatives. Projects seek to challenge anti-social and criminal behaviour amongst young people by providing activities which facilitate personal development, encourage civic responsibility and work towards improving long-term employability prospects of participants.

Minister Andrews said, ‘The audit and analysis of Garda Youth Diversion Projects that this report presents is a key undertaking of the National Youth Justice Strategy 2008-2010. The findings of the report provide us with a valuable insight into the nature and causes of youth offending in all parts of the country and provide a roadmap for assisting local effort in the reduction of  youth crime in the future’. The report identifies a range of offences committed by young people but makes special mention of those offence episodes where alcohol is a key feature.

‘The report finds that up to 50% of youth crime is committed in situations where alcohol has been consumed and significantly contributes to the offending behaviour. The reduction of alcohol related youth crime is therefore key to reducing anti-social and criminal behaviour amongst young people in our communities’ said the Minister.

The report found a number of recurring patterns in how alcohol related crime is committed in local areas. The report  uses evidence derived from the study to construct 3 profiles  providing illustrative examples of how this type of crime is committed. Drawing on international research evidence and the successful tactics employed by many Garda youth projects, the report provides a strategic direction for how youth crime may be tackled more effectively in the future.

The new strategy  centres around  project activities being directly linked to interrupting local youth crime patterns in addition to improved core training and a means to share best practice. The recommendations also include the establishment of 5 trial sites involving existing Garda Projects in various locations across the country. The trial sites will  implement the report recommendations and attempt to secure significant improvements in youth crime reduction within existing resources.

All recommendation will be substantially implemented by the end of 2010 and will lead to better outcomes for the young people engaged in projects and a corresponding impact on youth crime.

The full report and an executive summary featuring key findings of the report can be downloaded from the Irish Youth Justice Service website 

14 July 2009