Oberstown Children Detention Campus

A.     Service overview and contact details

Focus of restorative justice (RJ) and restorative practices (RP) activities

Oberstown Children Detention Campus (Oberstown) is Ireland’s national facility for the detention of children remanded or sentenced by the courts. It is authorised to accommodate 48 boys and six girls at any single point in time. The overall Model of Care for Oberstown is ‘based on participative and restorative practice’ and staff are trained in restorative practice. As part of this approach, Anti-Violence Restorative Practice Training has been developed for young people. Oberstown also operates a Victim Liaison Service that can provide victims with information about significant developments during the period of a child’s Detention Order.

Year of commencement (RJ/RP elements)


Service details

Oberstown Children Detention Campus



Co. Dublin

K45 AY66

Website: https://www.oberstown.com/ 

Email: info@oberstown.com 

Tel: +353 (0)1 852 6400

Head of service 

Damien Hernon,

Interim Director of Oberstown.


Tel: +353 (0)1 852 6400

Staffing structure 

Not applicable

Staff training in RJ/RP

Introductory restorative practice (RP) training was provided by the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) to all Unit staff and facilitation skills training was provided to a select group. A small number of staff trained to RP trainer level and were subsequently involved in training colleagues. Communities of practice were also held.

Use of volunteers 

Not applicable

Volunteer training in RJ/RP

Not applicable

Main source(s) of funding

Oberstown Children Detention Campus is funded by the Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS), which is an office within the Department of Justice.

Annual budget

€23m budget for operational costs in 2020.

Nature of funding


Organisational status 

Oberstown Children Detention Campus is a state body that is managed by a Board of Management appointed by, and reporting to, the Minister for Justice.

Target client group 

Oberstown accommodates all young people up to the age of 18 on detention or remand orders.

Nature of offences 

Children can be detained for any and all offences. In Q1 of 2018, the offences for which young people were detained included:

  • theft and fraud;
  • offences under the Road Traffic Act 2010;
  • assault (including sexual assault);
  • criminal damage; and,
  • firearms and offensive weapons.

Source of referrals


Geographic area of activity

Oberstown is located in North Dublin but is the National Children’s Detention facility and can accommodate young people from any of the 26 counties.

B.     Nature of RJ/RP service

RJ/RP services provided

  1. Victim Empathy Programme : Oberstown deliver the “What have I done?” victim empathy programme to young people on campus
  2. The overall Model of Care is ‘based on participative and restorative practice’. 
  3. Anti-Violence Restorative Practice Training (ART) for young people
  4. Victim Liaison Service 

The overall model of care in Oberstown is ‘based on participative and restorative practice’, with restorative practices one of many different kinds of training available to staff in Oberstown.

In August 2017, as part of a pilot project in partnership with CDI, the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) ran two introduction workshops (9 hours) in Oberstown. The workshops were facilitated by a team of four volunteers: two adults and two young facilitators (17 and 18 years old). The aims were to build cooperation, community, self-esteem and trust among the group, and to introduce skills in conflict resolution, communication and anger management.

In 2018, as part of the continued development of the restorative practices approach in Oberstown, CDI developed and facilitated an Anti-Violence Restorative Practice Training (ART) programme for young people. This ten-session training programme aims to develop young people’s awareness of their feelings, how these impact on their behaviours and how their behaviours impact on others.  ART also enables participants to deal with potentially violent situations in new and creative ways. Workshops were run by two CDI facilitators and used the shared experiences of participants, interactive exercises, games and role-plays to examine the ways in which they respond to situations where injustice, prejudice, frustration and anger can lead to aggressive behaviour and violence.  Topics such as relationship building, respect, empathy, community, trust and relationship-keeping were key components of the programme. 

Under the Victim Liaison Service, victims of crime can voluntarily register with Oberstown to be entitled to seek information related to the release, transfer, early discharge and periods of temporary leave the offender has during the Detention Order. At the victim’s request, the Oberstown Victim Liaison Officer contacts them to inform them of any significant developments.

Activity levels

In 2017, 13 young people completed the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)

In 2018, 15 young people completed the Anti-Violence Restorative Practice Training (ART)

In 2019, 13 young people completed the Anti-Violence Restorative Practice Training (ART)  

Community participation 

Not applicable

Offence breakdown  

Not readily available

Offender age and gender breakdown

Not readily available


Not readily available

C.     Sources of further information 


Oberstown Children Detention Campus

Annual Reports

Oberstown Children Detention Campus Annual Report 2018