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Garda Youth Diversion Bureau

The Garda Youth Diversion Bureau (GYDB) has responsibility for overseeing and developing the Diversion Programme nationally, which was put on a statutory basis under Part 4 of the Children Act 2001. The Bureau is headed by a Chief Superintendent. 

The remit of the GYDB includes the administration, coordination and development of the Diversion Programme nationally. It holds an oversight position on all aspects of youth referrals and the Programme supports Garda districts and divisions in ensuring effective governance and the timely processing of referrals. 

It also supports a network of JLO Sergeants and JLO Gardaí distributed across every Garda division countrywide. There is an appointed Director of the Diversion Programme at Superintendent Rank. The Director’s role is provided for under section 20 (1) Children Act 2001 and is a statutory position. 

The aim of the Diversion Programme is to prevent young people between the ages of 12 and 18 years of age from entering into the criminal justice system. Diverting young people from committing further offences is another intended outcome of the Programme. For certain serious crimes*, young people aged 10 and 11 will be considered for inclusion in the Programme. 

When a young person comes to the attention of An Garda Síochána because of their alleged criminal or anti-social behaviour, they are required by law (S.18 of the Children Act 2001) to be first considered for the Diversion Programme. In order to be considered for inclusion in the Diversion Programme, the young person must be under 18 years of age, accept responsibility for the offending behaviour, agree to be cautioned and, where appropriate, agree to the terms of supervision. 

The Director’s decision on whether or not to admit a young person to the Diversion Programme is based on a number of factors, such as 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. 

If a child is deemed suitable for inclusion to the Diversion Programme, a JLO will be assigned to the child and they will administer a caution to the child. A caution may include a period of supervision where the JLO will continuously monitor the child’s progress in line with the plan they have agreed upon to reduce the likelihood of the child re-offending. 

In addition, where other needs are identified, the young person will be referred to a Garda Youth Diversion Project (if one is available in their area) or other clubs or projects in their community. If a child is deemed unsuitable for admission to the Diversion Programme, the Director will issue a signed certificate deeming them unsuitable for this offence. 

* Section 129(2) of the Criminal Justice Act 2006

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