209. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice the number of projects supported by the Garda youth diversion programme in 2021; and the number of beneficiaries under the programme. [30133/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy James Browne): Part 4 of the Children Act 2001 (as amended) provides the statutory basis for the Garda Diversion Programme. The intention of the programme is to divert children and young people who have engaged in criminal or anti-social behaviour away from the criminal justice system and towards more positive life choices. Children who commit criminal offences are considered for admission to the Garda Diversion Programme, as provided in the Children Act 2001. Each such case is assessed and the Director of the Garda Diversion Programme (a Garda Superintendent) decides if the case is suitable or not for inclusion.
The operation of the programme includes informal and formal Garda warnings, delivered in the presence of parents or guardians, as well as provision for supervision by a Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer. The scope of the Diversion programme is illustrated by 2019 figures, which show that 18,567 children were referred for consideration under the programme.
Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) are a fundamental support to the operation of the statutory Garda Diversion Programme and provide a vital ingredient in enhancing community policing partnerships. There are currently 105 Projects nationwide. These projects are community based multi-agency crime prevention initiatives, which are funded directly by my Department. GYDPs seek to divert young people who have become involved, or are at risk of becoming involved, in crime/anti-social behaviour away from future involvement with the criminal justice system. They are primarily targeted at 12-17 year old young people in communities where a specific need for the service has been identified. On average, the Garda Youth Diversion Projects engage with between 3,500 and 4,000 young people across the state in any one year.
While the projects primarily receive referrals from An Garda Síochána, they may receive referrals from other sources including schools, parents or self-referrals, including in some cases working with young people who are not under Garda supervision, or have been deemed unsuitable for diversion. Individual GYDPs also undertake early intervention preventative work and support for families. Therefore, as projects include a mixture of young people referred from An Garda Síochána and other sources, data on GYDPs participants is not directly comparable with data on those considered for admission to the Garda Diversion Programme.
The following links to the Annual Reports of the Committee appointed to monitor the effectiveness of the Diversion programme for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 may be of assistance to the Deputy. The statistics provided in these reports contain information on referrals to the Diversion Programme, which corresponds to the numbers of crime incidents considered.
2017 - www.iyjs.ie/en/iyjs/pages/publications.
2018 - www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Annual_Report_of_the_Committee_Appointed_to_Monitor_the_Effectiveness_of_the_Diversion_Programme_2018.pdf/Files/Annual_Report_of_the_Committee_Appointed_to_Monitor_the_Effectiveness_of_the_Diversion_Programme_2018.pdf.
2019 - www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Annual_Report_of_the_Committee_Appointed_to_Monitor_the_Effectiveness_of_the_Diversion_Programme_2019.pdf/Files/Annual_Report_of_the_Committee_Appointed_to_Monitor_the_Effectiveness_of_the_Diversion_Programme_2019.pdf.