Kerry has highest increase in children referred to Garda Diversion Programme

  Kerry had the highest percentage increase of children referred to the Garda Diversion Programme in 2012. 397 children were referred in Kerry to the service; an annual increase of 12 per cent. garda badge The Garda Diversion Programme is designed as an alternative to the court system in dealing with those under 18 who commit a crime. Before entering the programme the young person must take responsibility for their behaviour, agree to be cautioned and to terms of supervision. An aspect of the programme is restorative justice where the children who have offended come face to face with their victim. Nationally, there were over 12,000 children referred to the programme in 2012. Public order, theft and damage to property are the three main crimes committed. There are four Gardai working in four youth diversion projects in Kerry. In 2012, there were 802 referrals involving 397 children in Kerry; an increase of 12% on the previous year. Almost 250 informal cautions were issued; there were 95 formal cautions. There were 134 restorative cautions arising from the referrals. 26 referrals were unsuitable.