Tackling Youth Crime
Who are the Irish Youth Justice Service?
The Irish Youth Justice Service operates as an executive office located in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. It is staffed by officials from Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Justice and Equality.
Responsibility for the Children Act, 2001 is shared between the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and the Minister for Justice and Equality. and it is staffed by officials from both Departments.
What is the role of the Irish Youth Justice Service?
The Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS) has responsibility for
- leading and driving reform in the area of youth justice,
- improving the delivery of youth justice services, and
- policies aimed at reducing youth offending.
This challenge is met by focusing on diversion and rehabilitation involving greater use of community-based interventions and the promotion of initiatives to deal with young people who offend.
The Minister for Justice and Equality’s responsibility
The Minister for Justice and Equality has responsibility for youth crime policy and legislation, including crime prevention/reduction/detection, criminal proceedings, diversion and diversion projects, community sanctions and Probation community projects.
The Minister also has responsibility for dealings with An Garda Síochána and the Probation Service on youth crime issues as well as responsibility via the Irish Prison Service for the small number of remaining children in adult prison facilities.
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs responsibility
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is responsible for the 3 Children Detention Schools at Oberstown, Lusk, Co. Dublin which provide detention places to the Courts for girls up to the age of 18 years and boys up to the age of 17 years ordered to be remanded or committed on criminal charges.
Tackling Youth Crime; a Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018
The IYJS is focussed on implementing ‘Tackling Youth Crime’; a Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018’. The emphasis of this Action Plan is on changing behaviour. This can be brought about through the implementation of evidence-informed targeted interventions to achieve better outcomes for young people who get into trouble with the law, or who are at risk of getting into trouble with the law.
The Plan sits within the National Policy Framework for children and young people and it will also form part of the National Anti-Crime Strategy being developed under the proposed White Paper on Crime. Implementation of the Action Plan is overseen by a multi-agency steering group chaired by the Director of IYJS, Michelle Shannon.
The Youth Crime Policy and Programmes Division in the Irish Youth Justice Service delivers the Department of Justice and Equality led elements of ‘Tackling Youth Crime’, a Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018’. The Division has responsibility for both the funding and the development of community programmes aimed at reducing youth crime. The community projects provide direct support to front-line Gardaí and Probation Officers dealing with young people in trouble with the law.
Community projects include:
- a network of 100 Garda Youth Diversion Projects which engage young people who have become involved in anti-social behaviour and
- Young Persons Probation Projects located in key areas which work with young people who have come before the courts.
Further information is available on Community Programmes, IYJS.
The Minister for Justice and Equality recently announced that funding will be provided under the Dormant Accounts Disbursement Scheme to expand community led interventions delivered by Community Programmes.
- the establishment of additional Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) in high priority locations around the country,
- the employment of additional youth justice workers for existing GYDPs in areas with high levels of youth crime,
- the role-out of mentoring supports for GYDP participants and to assist Garda Juvenile Liaison Officers operating in areas without access to a GYDP.
The locations both for new projects and for the additional youth justice workers have been selected following a detailed examination by IYJS and An Garda Síochána of national youth crime and population statistics provided by the Garda Síochána Analysis Service. This examination took into account existing youth justice services and identified the areas which have the most urgent need for additional supports. A formal announcement of the locations selected will be made shortly.