Numbers in youth crime diversion programme fall 13pc
THE number of children being referred to a garda programme to try to keep them out of court has dropped.
More than 18,500 children who engaged in criminal or anti-social behaviour were referred last year to the Garda Diversion Programme, but the number of incidents and the number of children is lower than in previous years.
The total number of referrals to the diversion programme last year was 23,952, a decrease of 12.65pc on 2008. The total number of children referred was 18,519, a decrease of 13.51pc on 2008 when 21,412 children were referred.
Children's Minister Barry Andrews said it was important not to get complacent and that efforts to reduce and prevent youth crime must continue.
The lowest number of child referrals was in Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Louth and Sligo/Leitrim, with youths from the Dublin, Cork and Limerick metropolitan areas accounting for almost 10,000 referrals.
The top three youth offence categories for 2009 were alcohol offences (17.6pc), theft (16.6pc) and traffic offences (13pc).
The programme is a package of measures designed to deal with children between the age of 10 and 18. Of the children referred to the programme, just over one-fifth were aged 14 years or younger. More than half were aged 16 or 17.