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Garda Confidential No.: 1 800 666 111

Diversion Programme

In all cases where it is alleged a child comes to the notice of An Garda Síochána because of their criminal or anti-social activity, the statutory obligation mandates they are to be considered for Diversion first.

This means all criminal investigations involving children must be referred to the attention of the Director of the Diversion Programme for consideration for inclusion in the Programme before considering initiating a prosecution.

The legal and policy framework underpinning the Diversion Programme includes-

    1) Children Act 2001

    2) Criminal Justice Act 2006

It is the function of the Director to decide whether to admit a child to the Programme.

To be considered for inclusion in the Diversion Programme the child be under 18 years of age and is accepting responsibility for the offending behaviour, agree to be cautioned, and where appropriate agree to terms of supervision.

The Directors decision on whether a child is suitable or not for inclusion in the Programme is based on a number of factors including the nature of the offence, the impact of the offence on the community, the views of the victim, and the offending history of the young person.

Restorative Justice

The Diversion Programme utilises Restorative Justice and Restorative Practices to engage with young people to address offending behaviour.  The approach focuses on the Victim and allows for the victim’s voice to be heard. 

The young person gets an opportunity to address the victim and the harm caused as a result of their criminal behaviour.
The following paragraph explains the process

Restorative Justice is a voluntary process where the young person accepts responsibility for his/her offending behaviour and becomes accountable to those he or she has harmed.

The victim is given the opportunity to have their views represented either by meeting the young person face to face or having their views represented by someone else. This meeting is set up and run by a Juvenile Liaison Officer (JLO).

What Does Restorative Justice Seek To Achieve?

When an offence or crime is committed there is harm done to a person or a community. In some way that person or community is affected by the harm.

Restorative Justice attempts to deal with the harm through a discussion. Restorative Justice attempts to bring that harm to the centre of the discussion. It does this by giving a voice to the person who has been affected by the crime. It then creates an opportunity for the offender to repair the harm caused by the offence and work towards the prevention of re-offending. The Restorative Justice process does not concern itself with judging or blaming.

Who Can Be Involved?

All those taking part in a Restorative Justice do so voluntarily.

Participants should include the young person who has offended, his/her family and the victim, who may also bring along someone to support them.

Any person, who can positively contribute to the process, may be invited by either the victim or the young person.