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Juvenile Offenders

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 18 June 2013

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Questions (362)

Derek Keating

Question:

362. Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will outline, in tabular form for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, the number of children who were referred to the Children Court from Clondalkin, Lucan, Palmerstown, Newcastle, Saggart and Rathcoole areas of County Dublin; the number of children who were referred to the juvenile liaison officers' supervision programme in those areas; the top five youth offences categories during the four year period and the provision of services and funding for projects and crime diversion programmes for Clondalkin, Lucan, Palmerstown, Newcastle, Saggart and Rathcoole; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28645/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

With regard to the first part of the Deputy's question, he will be aware that, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service. The Act provides that the Service is independent in the performance of its functions, which includes the provision of statistics.

In order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made with the Courts Service regarding the number of children referred to the Children's Courts and I am informed that statistics are not compiled in the manner sought by the Deputy and the data could not be extracted without a disproportionate expenditure of staff time and resources which could not be justified in the circumstances.

I presume that in referring to the Juvenile Liaison Officers' (JLOs) supervision scheme, the Deputy is referring to the statutory Diversion Programme operated by the JLOs under Part 4 of the Children Act 2001 as amended. The Programme provides that, where a child commits a crime a report is submitted by An Garda Síochána to the Director of the Diversion Programme for a decision on whether to admit the child to the Programme. Information and statistics on the operation of that Programme are contained in an "Annual Report of the Committee Appointed to Monitor the Effectiveness of the Diversion Programme", which is laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas annually and is also published on the Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS) website www.iyjs.ie. General statistics (no. of children referred, decision type) in the report are collated on a Garda divisional basis, while the top crime types are reported on a national basis only. The locations which the Deputy is seeking information on are contained in the Dublin Metropolitan Region West statistics in the reports.

The latest published report is for the year 2011 and I understand that the 2012 report is currently at draft stage.

My Department through the Irish Youth Justice Service funds 100 Garda Youth Diversion projects (GYDPs) nationwide of which three cover areas mentioned by the Deputy. These projects are community-based, multi-agency, crime prevention initiatives which are designed to engage with and seek to divert young people from becoming involved in or further involved in anti-social and/or criminal behaviour. They operate in tandem with and as a support to the statutory Garda Diversion Programme mentioned above. They aim to bring about the conditions whereby the behavioural patterns of young people towards law and order can develop and mature through positive interventions and interaction with the project. The projects are particularly targeted at 12-17 year old “at risk” youths in communities where a specific need has been identified and where there is a risk of them remaining within the justice system.The funding to these three projects from my Department in the requested years is set out in the table.

Project Name

Location

Coverage

2009 Funding

2010 Funding

2011 Funding

2012 Funding

GRAFT

Neilstown Rd, Clondalkin

North Clondalkin and Lucan

€143,282

€120,728

€120,814

€128,814

SWIFT

Bawnogue Youth and Community Centre, Clondalkin

Clondalkin

€118,947

€118,112

€114,131

€114,131

Valley

Neilstown Village

Palmerstown, Lucan, North Clondalkin

€113,230

€108,746

€105,234

€105,234

Finally, I wish to add that the Diversion Programme has been shown to be successful in diverting young offenders away from crime by offering guidance and support to the young people and their families. Tackling youth crime continues to be a key priority for this Government as set out in the Programme for Government and I am committed to continuing the Programme as is reflected in the resources available to the Garda Commissioner and the 2013 budget for the GYDPs which remains similar to the budget of 2012.

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