Progress Report on. Garda Youth Diversion Project Development







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Progress Report on

Progress Report on

Progress Report on

Garda Youth Diversion Project Development

Garda Youth Diversion Project Development

Garda Youth Diversion Project Development




Report compiled by:

Community Programmes Unit

Irish Youth Justice Service


The report gives a summary of Garda Youth Diversion Project (GYDP)

developments since 2009 and also provides national statistical information

captured electronically by projects in 4 quarterly performance reports

during 2011.

The Community Programmes Unit of the Irish Youth Justice Service wishes to

acknowledge the co-operation and effort by all stakeholders to enable

this report to be generated.

This report can be accessed via the Irish Youth Justice Website and the De-partment of Justice and Equality website

Community Programmes Unit Irish Youth Justice Service

Department of Justice and Equality 43-49 Mespil Rd

Dublin 4

Tel (01) 6473133





2011 Statistics Summary


Overview of Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDP)




GYDP Development 2009 — 2011


Annual Planning and Reporting




Online Learning Community


Risk Assessment


Trial Site Initiative


European Social Fund 2007 — 2013 and Garda Youth Diversion



Statistics for 2011


Programmes delivered by GYDPs


Examples of outcomes for participants


Progress Report on Garda Youth

Diversion Project Developments



The first 2 Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) were established in 1991. Since then there has been a steady growth and by 2008, 100 projects were in operation. The plan under the then Programme for Government was to establish a further 68 during the lifetime of that Programme but that expansion was halted due to the economic downturn.

GYDPs fulfil many necessary functions, but their primary mission is to directly impact on youth crime which distinguishes them from other youth service interventions and underlines the logic for Department of Justice and Equality investment.

Since 2009, the Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS) and the Garda Office for Children and Youth Affairs (GOCYA) have undertaken a major programme of development and reform in partnership with GYDPs and Community Based Organisations (CBOs) which manage the projects. The focus of the programme has been to improve the effectiveness of the pro-jects which, in turn will have a positive impact on reducing crime in the communities they service and support improvements in the lives of the participants attending the projects and their families.

GYDPs specific aim is to support An Garda Síochána at local level by impacting upon the attitudes, behaviours and circumstances that give rise to youth offending. Projects are lo-cated in one hundred communities across the country and focus their attention on a prior-ity group of young people who appear to be establishing a pattern of repeat offending. The majority of participants are identified by the local Gardaí. Project interventions are planned following a detailed annual examination of local youth crime patterns by local project staff and Gardaí. This process ensures that each planned programme of interven-tions is based on sound evidence and can demonstrate clearly how project activity in-tends to impact youth crime. Professionals in GYDPs typically concentrate on establishing and building relationships with targeted young people, planning positive outcomes but also challenging their offending behaviour and addressing their needs.

Over the last three years, data from the Annual reports of the Committee appointed to Monitor the Effectiveness of the Diversion Programme suggests strongly that there has been a marked decrease in youth crime. While specific attribution for the apparent reduction is complex, we believe the role of the Diversion Programme with support from the GYDPs cannot be understated. Certainly GYDPs support the key policy message of detention as a last resort contained in the Children Act 2001 (as amended). Without these types of inter-ventions it is likely that more young people will end up before the courts. However, of equal importance, their focus and the quality of interventions also builds public confidence in the capacity of community based interventions to reduce crime.


5,673 young people engaged with GYDPs in 2011.

4,103 were male (72%).

1,570 were female (28%).

2,990 (53%) received a caution for committing a crime (Primary referrals).

Of the 2,990 young people who had committed a crime, 77% were male.

2,683 (47%) of young people engaged had not been cautioned (Secondary referrals) but were deemed to be at risk of offending.

63% of all participants had been referred by Juvenile Liaison Officers or other Garda source.

Almost 50% of offences relate to alcohol and public order, 22% of offences were theft, 12% of crime related to assaults, harassments and related offences.

4,010 risk assessments were carried out in 2011.

86.1% of young people scored as having some anti-social friends.

926 separate programmes were delivered to young people by projects.

758 programmes were delivered under the European Social Fund Programme with 8,434 places for participants being provided under these programmes.


GYDPs are administered by Community Programmes Unit of the IYJS, Department of Jus-tice and Equality in cooperation with the Garda Office for Children and Youth Affairs (GOCYA).

Projects are community based, multi-agency youth crime prevention initiatives which pri-marily seek to divert young people who have been involved in anti-social and/or crimi-nal behaviour. They do this by challenging their behaviour through providing targeted interventions to facilitate personal development, promote civic responsibility and im-prove long-term employability prospects. The projects may also work with young people

who are significantly at risk of becoming involved in anti-social and/or criminal behav-iour. By doing so, the projects contribute to improving the quality of life within communi-ties and enhancing Garda/community relations. The role of the community and other locally based agencies as partners is vital in the implementation and delivery of the GYDPs. The projects provide an important support to An Garda Síochána and Garda Ju-venile Liaison Officers (JLOs) in particular, in the implementation of the Statutory Diversion Programme as set out in Part 4 of the Children Act, 2001(as amended).

Requirements for the operation of Projects

New Operational Requirements were put in place in January 2011 replacing the Garda Youth Diversion Project Guidelines introduced in 2003. These requirements provide a gov-ernance framework setting out the structures, business processes, and outline the roles of individual project stakeholders in day to day project operations.

Each GYDP has a project committee which is responsible for advising on and approving project planning and strategy, and monitoring and evaluating project performance. Each project also has a referral committee which decides on participants for inclusion in the project.


Projects are funded by way of Funding Agreements between Community Based Organi-sations and the Minister for Justice and Equality. Funding of a project year on year is


subject (inter alia) to sign off by IYJS of Annual Plans and compliance with the require-ments of the Funding Agreement. Core funding to projects has been reduced by 17% since 2008.

In 2011, Community Programmes provided funding from the Exchequer for projects as follows:

Core funding:- €7,559,947

Funding under European Social Fund Measure 1 €117,976 (ESF personal development and IT courses)

Funding under European Social Fund Measure 2 €3,569,582 (Funding of 2nd worker in each project)

Total: €11,247,505

Number of Projects and Management Structure

In 2011, there were 100 GYDPs nationwide. These are managed by 39 CBOs as follows:-

Foróige operates 29 projects.

Catholic Youth Care operates 10 projects.

Sixteen Community Based Organisations falling within the Youth Work Ireland Federation operates 38 projects.

Ógra Chorcaí operates 3 projects.

Twenty independent Community Based Organisations operate 20 projects.

In general, each GYDP is staffed by two youth justice workers who are managed on behalf of the CBO by a line manager.


One of the key priorities of the National Youth Justice Strategy 2008-2010 was to improve the effectiveness of GYDPs. A baseline analysis was undertaken by IYJS in 2008-2009 in-volving local interviews with all staff involved in the GYDPs. The analysis provided a quali-tative profile of youth crime in each project locality and an account of how each pro-ject intended to reduce the occurrence of youth crime. This exercise is now repeated each year by local project staff in terms of submitting each project’s proposed plan of interventions for funding approval (see Improved Focus below).

The baseline report, Designing effective local responses to youth crime (available at was published in July 2009 and provided for a change of approach to orien-tating and planning project interventions. The report's key recommendations were:-

• Improved focus: Improved alignment of project activities to addressing local youth crime patterns;

• Improved capacity building: Improved opportunities for targeted training and knowledge building for staff across all projects;

• Improved design and planning: Improved evidence-based service design and development, (to be implemented initially in five projects on a trial basis).

Annual Planning and Reporting

A revised Annual Planning format introduced to projects in 2010 and improved in 2011 requires projects to liaise closely with local Garda, in gathering and considering appropri-ate youth crime data before finalising its intended activities for the forthcoming year.

The format is designed to:

Secure core descriptive information about the intended scope of the project; Provide an indication of the level and type of youth crime experienced within the project’s catchment area;

Provide an indication of the project’s intention and capacity to make improvements.

GYDP Development 2009 — 2011


Project Annual Plans must be approved each year by IYJS and GOCYA.

Plans are appraised by IYJS and GOCYA and detailed written feedback is provided to each project each year.

An electronic quarterly reporting format was introduced by IYJS on 1st January 2011. This

reporting format has enabled IYJS to collate the national picture of the work of the pro-jects.


Targeted training inputs have been provided to all staff to support their engagement with young people. The training inputs included pro social modelling, motivational inter-viewing, risk assessment (using the Youth Level of Service / Case Management Inventory – Screening Version (YLS/CMI-SV)) and logic-modelling (see below).

Online Learning Community

The baseline report also identified a need to build knowledge across the network of GYDPs both in terms of sharing practice and access to international research literature. A key challenge for building knowledge was the wide spread locations of projects (see map page 10) and the wide variety of GYDP management structures (see page 9). An

online learning community YJ Forum was designed for access by all staff in GYDPs, lo-cally based JLOs from An Garda Síochána and Probation Officers specialising in work with young people. During 2011 the on-line learning community was expanded to in-clude members from the Youth Justice Board in Northern Ireland and interested Irish and International academics. These additions support wider discussion and sharing. Member-ship of the YJ Forum has been extended to approximately 400 by end of 2011.

Risk Assessment

In 2010, the IYJS and An Garda Síochána approved the use of the Youth Level of Ser-vice / Case Management Inventory – Screening Version (YLS/CMI—SV). The YLS/CMI-SV is a core assessment tool for use by JLOs and GYDP staff to help determine which young people in a locality may benefit most from project intervention and identify what needs they present with. In addition this tool was chosen for its capacity to help standardise the approach to targeting across projects, its acceptance that professional judgement


sometimes overrides established ‘risk’ indicators and its specific design for use in the ‘diversion’ system. The tool is applied at the point of referral (or shortly afterwards) and is then applied again after an appropriate period of intervention to indicate what progress a young person is making. YLS/CMI-SV training was provided to JLOs and project staff between February and April 2011 and the screening assessment is now used routinely to establish a baseline level of risk and need among young people who attend the GYDPs.

Trial Site Initiative

The trial site initiative, led by IYJS and GOCYA involved five GYDPs for an 18 month period July 2009-December 2010. The initiative involved a detailed process of data gathering, evidence based service design and innovation. Each participating project undertook a detailed analysis of local youth crime in co-operation with An Garda Síochána, informed by data provided by An Garda Síochána Analysis Service and designed a service re-sponse demonstrating how its interventions would impact youth crime in the community it serves. The trial site projects have been critical in the development of GYDP practice. They have road tested a number of important initiatives which now form part of routine GYDP practice, including evidence-based annual planning, use of the YLS/CMI-SV risk assessment tool, design of training interventions and design of the YJ Forum. The initial learning from the development of the 5 projects has been disseminated across all GYDPs and is now supporting the planning process nationally. In 2011, 9 additional projects were added to the trial site initiative and the development focus has now shifted to develop-ing means to evidence and measure improved outcomes.


The 2007 – 2013 ESF Human Capital Investment – Operational Programme provides GYDPs with an opportunity to support young people in projects to develop their skill set towards future employment. GYDPs operate 2 Sub Measures under the ESF Programme under the priority of Activation & Participation of Groups outside of the Workforce.

The Sub Measures are:-

to improve the employability of participants in GYDPs through the provision of In-formation Technology Skills and education in Personal Development courses (Sub Measure 1)

to provide assistance with one-to-one and group work on the projects (Sub Meas-ure 2) by identifying pathways, including further and second chance education, for individual participants towards the labour market, combating discrimination in accessing and progressing in the labour market and promoting acceptance of diversity in the workplace. Sub Measure 2 required the employment of a second worker in each project to pursue this measure.

The “upfront” GYDP costs associated with the ESF Programme to the Exchequer are €25million approximately over the period of the Programme (2007-2013) with 50% of the annual spend by the Exchequer on ESF measures to be claimed retrospectively from Europe. The Programme will have a net cost of approx €12.5million to the Exchequer.

Value of ESF 2007-2013

The programme has enabled projects to significantly increase their capacity, intensify their interventions and target specific issues with the young people engaged with the projects.

European Social Fund (ESF) 2007 — 2013 and

Garda Youth Diversion Projects

ESF Data S&E BMW Total Number of male participants 2251 717 2968 Number of female participants 927 293 1220 Total 3178 1010 4188


* A number of participants availed of more than one course in 2011

A number of projects were not in a position to employ a second Youth Justice Worker in 2011.

Exchequer funding for ESF measures in 2011 was €3.6million approximately which will en-able a claim from the EU for approximately €1.8 million (50%).

S&E BMW Total Number of programmes completed by Youth

Justice Workers

606 152 758 Number of places for participants provided 6670 1764 8434*

S&E BMW Total Total projects with ESF funded Youth Justice



Total number of young people engaged 5,673 Average per GYDP 56

The number engaged can be broken down as primary referrals (those who had received a caution) and secondary referrals (those deemed at risk but who have not received a caution).

Figure 1 - Geographical spread of the participants

Statistics for 2011

Region Male Female Primary Secondary

BMW Border 405 166 387 184 Midlands 231 101 166 166 West 359 115 294 180 Total BMW 995 382 847 530 S&E Dublin 1391 461 966 886 Mid East 92 32 82 42 Mid West 578 227 367 438 South East 515 195 421 289 South West 532 273 307 498 Total S&E 3108 1188 2143 2153 National Total 4103 1570 2990 2683


Figure 2 - Total Participants per quarter in 2011

Figure 3 - Gender Breakdown

3780 3793 3400 3500 3600 3700 3800 3900 4000 4100 4200 4300 4400 4500

Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4

4007 3953 N u m b e r o f P a rt ic ip a n ts

On average, the 100 GYDPs engaged 3,883 participants per quarter.

4103 1570 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 Male (72%) Female (28%) N u m b e r o f P a rt ic ip a n ts


Figure 4 - Age Breakdown of Participants

Figure 5 - Breakdown of Participants by Referral Status 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 11 and Under 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 and Over N u m b e r o f P a rt ic ip a n ts

The majority of the participants were in the 15 — 17 years old age bracket.

Primary, 2990 Secondary, 2683


Primary participants have been cautioned for an offence.


Figure 6 - Breakdown of Participants by Gender and Referral Status

Figure 7 - Breakdown of Participants by Referral Source

892 1791 678 2312 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500

Male Female Male Female



N u m b e r o f P a rt ic ip a n ts 3122, 55% 640, 11% 510, 9% 460, 8% 387, 7% 229, 4% 118, 2% 98, 2% 63, 1% 46, 1%

JLO Self Other Agency Other Garda Source Youth Worker


55% (3,115) of the participants engaged in the project were referred through the JLO; this figure comprises both primary and secondary participants.

Primary referrals represented 53% of the total participants with a 3:1 male/female ratio.

Secondary referrals represented 47% of the total participants engaged with the project with a 2:1 male/female ratio. Of the secondary referrals the majority were referred by “other Garda source” (8%) and other agency (9%).

Figure 8 - Breakdown of Participants by Cultural Background

4825 620 111 63 31 18 5

White Irish - 4825 (White) Irish Traveller - 620 Any other white background - 111

Other including mixed background - 63 (Black or black Irish) African - 31

(Black or black Irish) Any other black background - 18 Asian or Asian Irish - 5


Figure 9 - Breakdown of Primary Participants (2990) by Type of Offence

Almost 50% of offences relate to an alcohol and public order.

610 participants (22%) were cautioned for theft and related offences with the majority of participants listed as having stolen from a shop.

1419 610 341 181 115 70 70 68 53 43 10 10

Public Order & other social code offences Theft & Related offences

Assaults, harassments, and related offences Controlled Drug offences

Burglary & Related offences Weapons & Explosive offences

Road & Traffic offences (NEC) Robbery, extortion & highjacking offences

Dangerous and negligent acts Offences not elsewhere classified

Fraud, Deception & Related offences Other Crime


Figure 10 - Breakdown of Participants by Risk Assessment information

The two areas that emerged as the most significant risk / need factors for the young peo-ple assessed in 2011 were:

having anti-social peers (86.1%) and

lack of appropriate spare time activities (59%).

Therefore the need to focus interventions on the importance of a positive peer group and pro-social spare time activities is clear. Other areas of risk and need that were sig-nificant included young people’s behaviour and problems within the family. Almost half of young people assessed experienced difficulties with school, had pro-criminal attitudes and problems with drugs and alcohol. These areas of risk/need were addressed in the various programmes offered to young people.

0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 YLS/CMI-sv Yes No Yes 1510 1294 2260 1071 1540 1481 1426 1273 No 995 1186 240 1262 941 1002 1147 1304 History of involvement in criminal or anti social


Current school or

employment problems Some anti social friends Alcohol/drug problems Leisure/spare time issues Behaviour problems

Family circumstances/parentin

g issues

Attitudes/orientation problems


In 2011 the GYDPs delivered 926 programmes to participants.

Figure 11 - Programmes delivered by projects

Changes in Offending Behaviour

In 2011, 88 courses were delivered with the specific aim of diverting participants from of-fending behaviour. Examples of courses delivered under this heading were Copping On, Restorative Justice and Public Order Programmes.

Projects reported that participants who have completed courses have displayed a will-ingness to change and to take steps towards becoming productive members of society.

Programmes delivered by Garda Youth Diversion Projects

Note: Programmes listed include activities funded through ESF 2007—2013. ‘Other’ includes programmes run at specific times of the year including Summer, Halloween and Easter. 22% 16% 11% 10% 7% 7% 3% 3% 5% 5% 11%

Life Skills and Social Activities Educational/Employment

Substance abuse/dangerous activities Change in offending behaviour/patterns

Personal Development

Empathy of the impact of crime Relationships built with local Gardaí

Improved family communication

Individual Support

Community Programmes


Improvement in School

147 courses were delivered in 2011 with the aim of improving the level of engagement the participant has with education and/or creating pathways towards employment.

Early school leaving is a trend among participants and some projects reported that a number of participants view criminality as a viable career path. In 2011 81% of projects offered support to the local schools, including homework clubs and encouragement to participants to sit State exams.

In terms of employment, participants were encouraged to set goals, create CVs, job ap-plications and research jobs that they found interesting. GYDPs also offered career spe-cific courses such as hairdressing, car mechanics and courses aimed towards the music industry.

Improvement in Family Life

25% of projects successfully engaged with the families of the participants of the GYDPs. Projects offered courses such as the Strengthening Families Programme. They also en-gaged with families through home visits and provided updates on the progress of the participant to the parent/guardian while in the project. Supporting the family dynamic encouraged more positive communication between young people and parent/ guardian, demonstrated better coping mechanisms for parents/guardians and in some instances referral to appropriate agencies such as the HSE or Young Persons Probation.

Awareness and empathy in relation to the impact of crime

61 programmes were delivered in 2011 aimed at enhancing the participants’ awareness of the impact of crime on communities and families.

Participants were advised on the consequences of breaking the law and were provided with information on how their decision impacts not only on themselves but the wider community, for example, road traffic offences, disorderly conduct and damaging public property.

One to One

In 2011 48 projects delivered one-to-one support for participants engaging with the pro-ject. Participants are assessed on a needs basis and a focus is placed on designing the best type of intervention. Projects determine the work to be carried out with each indi-vidual referral, looking at their needs, their educational or employment situation and also what level of engagement they would be able to commit to.


Behavioural Changes

Interlinked with activities specifically aimed at diverting the young person from offending be-haviour, the projects delivered programmes with the intention of motivating the young per-son to examine their behaviour and to provide them with the tools to cope more effectively in difficult circumstances. Examples of these programmes include Anger Management, Inter-acting with Peer Groups and Anti-Social behaviour (bullying and


Building Relationships with Gardaí

An Garda Síochána are actively involved in interactions with the participants of the GYDPs from initial engagement through to completion of an intervention. The Gardaí supported the projects in delivering, for example, Soccer Leagues, Camp Diversion, Pool Tournaments. Gar-daí also delivered talks on road safety, anti-social behaviour and the justice system.

Projects have reported that participants benefited from the interaction with the Gardaí and are now more willing to approach community Gardaí outside of the project environment and their attitudes towards authority have become more positive. Projects also indicated that participants are now more knowledgeable of the justice system and are realising the long term consequences of their actions.

Increased knowledge or awareness of the dangers of substance abuse

Alcohol and public order related offences accounted for almost 50% of cautions given to participants engaged with the GYDPs in 2011. Projects have delivered programmes on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. Projects reported that participants are demonstrating a willingness to remove themselves from groups where alcohol and drug use is prevalent.

Participants were also counselled on road safety and many projects have reported that par-ticipants had not previously considered the full impact of driving dangerously and/or being under the influence of drugs/alcohol.

Community Programmes

38 projects delivered courses with the intention of enhancing the productivity of the partici-pants in the community. Such activities included cleaning up the local area, creating a com-munity garden and participating in a citizenship programme.

Projects have reported that participants enjoyed the positive feedback from the local com-munity and took pride in the work achieved. Several projects reported that instances of


graffiti and anti-social behaviour have reduced among the participants who completed these activities.

Life Skills and Social Interactions

In 2011, 24% of the courses delivered were aimed at enhancing the life skills and social interactions of the participants. The courses included cookery, money management, health education, art and equestrian care. Participants were encouraged to be self ac-countable, listen to directions from instructors, interact positively with peer groups and to develop core competencies sought by employers such as team building and leadership skills.


Examples of outcomes for participants

Case Study A

This young person is 17 years old and has been known to the project since he was 11 years when he was referred due to problems at school. The young person had angry outbursts and often took out his frustrations in physically abusive ways such as throwing chairs at class mates and teachers. There has been a high level of addiction in the young person’s family including alcohol and drug use.

The young person is a known drug user and has poor conflict management skills and has become known to the Gardaí and has been arrested. The young person’s attendance in the projects group sessions was good and although he often needed a high level of sup-port within groups, he was willing to engage with the youth justice worker on matters of education, anger control management and drug abuse.

With the assistance of the youth justice worker the youth completed a barber shop course, attended counselling for drug abuse and is pursuing additional courses in the hopes of gaining future employment.

Case Study B

This young person is 17 years of age. He became known to the project through his offend-ing peer group and referred himself in June 2010 requestoffend-ing support in dealoffend-ing with per-sonal and unemployment issues. The participant lives in an estate which is disadvantaged and where there are high levels of crime. The participant has achieved the leaving certifi-cate with a passing grade.

Despite completing school the participant exhibited signs of mental health issues and has become affected by the lack of employment opportunities in the area. The youth justice worker began intensive intervention work and it became clear that the participant had completed school with no goals or skills that would help them to plan, resource or aim for any job, training or career. A personal plan that was based on skills development, access to support and recreational/social need was designed for the young person.

Through the job seeking program the young person developed a real interest in working and applied for numerous jobs and went for many interviews. The programme content and activities was designed by the young person and it was both creative and ambitious using both decision making skills and planning skills.


Case Study C

The young person was referred to the project by a Social Worker with the support of the JLO. Issues relating to behaviour difficulties and communication within the family were identified. The young person indicated that they had self – harming and suicidal thoughts.

The youth justice worker identified that the young person was in need of anger manage-ment, family intervention, counselling and educational support.

Through intensive one to one support with the youth justice worker the participant has learnt to control their anger and understands the consequences of becoming involved in altercations with others. The young person took part in a programme designed to aid them in managing their thoughts towards self harming and suicide. To date the young person has engaged well with the project and maintains contact with the youth justice worker. The young person is engaging with their family and the parent of the young person is en-gaging with services to improve upon their parenting skills.






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