Garda Youth Diversion Projects

A.     Service overview and contact details


Focus of restorative justice activities

Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) are community-based, multi-agency crime prevention initiatives, which seek to divert young people from becoming further involved or involved in crime/anti-social behaviour and to support wider preventative work within the community and with families at risk. A number of GYDPs use restorative practices (RP) in their work and a bespoke RP training programme with the specific needs of GYDPs in mind has been developed and will be rolled out to all GYDPs in 2021.

Year of commencement 


Service details

Best Practice Development Team (BPDT)

The Temperance Hall 

Barrack Street 


Co. Galway

Head of Restorative Practice Services 

Edel Kelly

Phone: 0879030000  


Staff structure

There are 105 Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) that are managed locally by Community Based Organisations (CBOs) located in communities around the country. Staff are employed by the CBOs, including Youth Work Ireland member organisations, Foroíge, Crosscare, Extern and Independent agencies. The numbers of staff vary between the projects.

The GYDP Best Practice Development Team (BPDT) is a multi-agency initiative consisting of team members from Foróige, Crosscare, Youth Work Ireland Galway, and the Independent Network.

Staff Training in restorative justice 

The BPDT, in conjunction with Ulster University and a team of trainers from the GYDP network, have developed an RP training programme tailored to GYDPs. The primary aim of the training is to increase the knowledge and understanding of restorative practices as a way of being and, in the first phase of training, to look at practices in relation to conversations and circles to assist in day-to-day encounters. While many projects use restorative approaches in their work, the national roll out of this training will provide a structure for implementing restorative practices consistently across the GYDP network. This training will commence in 2021.

Each Community-Based Organisation (CBO) is responsible for ensuring that all project staff are suitably qualified and have access to and receive relevant up-to-date, evidence-based training in line with national and international best practice. The purpose of the BPDT is to support Youth Justice Workers (YJWs) in developing and supporting practice across the network of GYDPs. This is achieved through the identification of emerging training and development needs and the design and implementation of a range of targeted responses in line with best practice. 


Not applicable

Volunteer training in restorative justice 

Not applicable

Main source(s) of funding

GYDPs are co-funded by the Department of Justice and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020, and the Dormant Account Fund.

Annual budget 

In 2020, €15.6m was allocated to GYDPs. 

Nature of funding

GYDPs are financed by way of a funding agreement between the CBO and the Department of Justice. This is subject to year-on-year approval of the GYDP Annual Plan submitted by the management agencies to the Department of Justice and the Garda Youth Diversion Programme Office.

Organisational status

GYDPs are administered by the Department of Justice in partnership with the Garda Youth Diversion Programme Office. Each project is managed by a Community Based Organisation, including Youth Work Ireland member organisations Foróige, Crosscare, Extern and independent agencies.

Target client group

Projects are primarily targeted at 12-17-year-old ‘at risk’ youths in communities. A GYDP seeks to divert young people from becoming involved (or further involved) in anti-social or criminal behaviour.

Nature of offences 

Anti-social or criminal behaviour.

Source of referrals

Juvenile Liaison Officers, other Gardaí, schools, youth groups, parents, peers and self-referrals.

Geographic area of activity

105 GYDPs provide services across the country.

B.     Nature of RJ service

Model(s) of RJ services provided

  1. Circles
  2. Restorative approach to working, restorative conversations

These are used by a number of GYDPs and training will be rolled out in 2021 to enable all GYDPs to do likewise. 

Main process elements and short description of each model that the service provides 

See Slaney Garda Youth Diversion Project for more information.

Number of cases per annum

Not applicable

Community participation 

Not applicable

Offence breakdown  

Not applicable

Offender age and gender breakdown

Not applicable


Not applicable

C.     Sources of information 

Legal Instrument

Information Leaflets

Garda Youth Diversion Office: Information Leaflet for The Diversion Programme for Young Offenders


Irish Youth Justice Service: Garda Youth Diversion Projects

An Garda Síochána: Garda Youth Diversion Bureau 

Citizens Information: Garda Youth Diversion Programme

Annual Reports

Garda Youth Diversion and Crime Prevention Bureau: Annual Report of the Committee Appointed to Monitor the Effectiveness of the Diversion Programme 2017

An Garda Síochána: Annual Report 2018

Operational Plans

Irish Youth Justice Service: Garda Youth Diversion Projects Operational Requirements

Funding and Other Reports

Department of Justice and Equality: Funding of Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) under the European Social Fund (ESF) Operational Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014 -2020