Minister Stanton publishes Draft Youth Justice Strategy for Consultation
- Focus on the future prevention and intervention on young people’s involvement in crime
- Online Consultation launched to give people of all ages a chance to have their say
- Consultation to be held online due to COVID-19
1 May, 2020
Minister of State David Stanton T.D., who holds special responsibility for Youth Justice, has launched an online consultation on how State agencies, including the Justice system, should engage with young people who are at risk of becoming involved in crime.
Views are sought from the general public, including young people, and the consultation will remain open for eight weeks. This is part of a wider consultation process to inform the development of a new Youth Justice Strategy to cover the period up to 2026.
The survey will collect opinions on a range of areas related to the draft strategy including the role of individuals and organisations in helping to prevent children and young people’s involvement in crime and on different approaches to dealing with those who have committed an offence.
Launching the consultation, Minister Stanton said:
“We want to make our communities safer while also providing positive support to our young people.
“I think everyone is very aware of the serious, and sometimes horrific consequences where young people become involved with criminal groups. We need to increase and improve our efforts to engage with young people at risk to turn them away from a life of crime.
“With this consultation we want to consider the full range of issues connected to children and young people at risk of coming into contact with the criminal justice system. I would encourage anyone with an interest in this area – young or old – to make their voice heard by taking part in the online consultation.”
A key concern of the consultation is tackling repeated and serious youth offending, with Minister Stanton emphasising;
“The children and young people who are the hardest to reach, are often those in most need of help. We have to redouble our efforts to engage effectively with them. We owe it to our communities so that people can live without fear of anti-social and criminal behaviour. And, we owe to our young people so that they can make the most of their abilities and participate as valued members of Irish society.”
Referring to the fact that sometimes very young children can come to Garda attention, the Minister underlined the need for a strong emphasis in the draft Strategy on prevention and early intervention.
“This is not just about the work done by the Gardaí and the other Justice agencies. We need all State and State-funded bodies to play a part in preventing vulnerable young children going down a path towards criminal involvement. In my view, this sort of collective approach needs to be in place from a very early stage and we urgently need to support families and schools in dealing with challenging behaviour that can be a pre-cursor to more serious anti-social and criminal activity.”
While the draft Youth Justice Strategy and questionnaire are now available on-line to facilitate public consultation, the Department of Justice and Equality intends to support further engagement with stakeholders in the coming months.
The precise format for this engagement will be kept under review in light of developments in relation to the necessary restrictions on meetings, events and interpersonal contacts.
The consultation questionnaire and the draft Strategy are available at the following links:
Notes to Editor:
- In February 2019, Minister Stanton established an Expert Steering Group to guide the development of the new Youth Justice Strategy, incorporating a review of the Children Act 2001. In addition to the work of the steering group there have been important consultations with stakeholders, including key personnel from State agencies and community representatives.
- This will be the third such Strategy published by the Department, following the 2008 Youth Justice Strategy and the subsequent Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018. The 2020 – 2026 Strategy will deal with many of gaps that remain to be addressed and the new and contemporary challenges that have emerged in the meantime.
See http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Youth_Justice_Strategy_Public_Consultation for more information