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Number of children involved in crime falls for the sixth year in a row

The number of children involved in the Garda Diversion Programme fell by 563.

Image: car robbery via Shutterstock

THE NUMBER OF children referred to the Garda Diversion Programme fell for the sixth year in a row, according to its latest report.

12,246 children, involved in a total of 24,069 offences, were referred to the scheme in 2012, a fall of 536 compared to the year previous.

Children involved in the programme are cautioned and spend a period of time under the supervision of a Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer to deter them from re-offending.

It is also described by the Department of Justice as an effort to “find alternative means to Court to deal with offending and to prevent future offending”.

The programme also involves an element of restorative justice, where the young person who has committed the crime meets with the victim.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter welcomed the 15 per cent increase in this practice in 2012.

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Click here to see a larger version of this image. (Image Credit: Garda Youth Diversion Programme)

Three areas saw a rise in the number of children being referred to the programme. These were the Southern Dublin Metropolitan Region (1 per cent), Louth (11 per cent), and Kerry (9 per cent). Wicklow saw no change in figures from 2011.

The majority of children involved in the programme were 17 years old, and 30 per cent were repeat offenders.

A quarter of the children involved were female.

Read: Seven young offenders released as judge rules kids should get remission too >

More: After five-year delay, work finally begins on new youth detention centre in Dublin >

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Nicky Ryan

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