Northern Ireland Youth Justice Agency Annual Workload Statistics 2019/20 Published Today

Date published: 15 October 2020

The Department of Justice (DoJ) today published Research and Statistics Bulletin:
• ‘Northern Ireland Youth Justice Agency Annual Workload Statistics 2019/20’.

Statistical graphic for department of justice

This annual Official Statistics publication provides workload statistics for the last five financial years for both Custodial Services (Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre, JJC) and Youth Justice Services (YJS) within the Youth Justice Agency (YJA). Area statistics in this report are produced in terms of the 11 Local Government Districts. This ensures that consistent data can be produced on an annual basis for comparison purposes. This will also facilitate comparison with other data sources such as PSNI recorded crime information or NI population data. The publication continues to provide descriptive analysis of trends on a range of demographics, including some Section 75 characteristics and care information.  This publication includes a ‘YJA Insight’ section which provides some management information which has not been subject to full official statistics validation and is therefore subject to change. The main findings of this report are presented below.

Northern Ireland Youth Justice Agency Annual Workload Statistics 2019/20

  • The number of referrals to the YJS in 2019/20 was 1,631, a decrease of 4.7% from 2018/19 (1,712).
  • Diversionary referrals (41.9%; 684) accounted for the largest proportion of all referrals in 2019/20, followed by Court Ordered (28.7%; 468) and Earlier Stage Interventions (16.9%; 275).
  • The number of individuals referred to YJS in 2019/20 (957) decreased by 2.0% from the previous year (977).
  • The total number of individuals in custody decreased by 21.3% (160, 2018/19; 126, 2019/20).
  • As in previous years males accounted for the majority of YJS referrals (79.6%) and of children referred to YJS (78.2%) and in custody (85.7%).
  • Approximately two thirds of total referrals and individuals referred to YJS during 2019/20 were aged 15 and over (70.9% and 67.9% respectively); the corresponding figure for children in custody was 85.7%.
  • Two out of three children in custody in 2019/20 were Catholic (66.7%); 12.7% were Protestant.
  • Just under two fifths of children in custody were in care (23.8% subject to a care order; 15.1% were voluntary accommodated).
  • In terms of local government district, Belfast had the highest number of YJS referrals (406) and admissions to custody (116).  Belfast also had the highest number of children referred to YJS (247) or in custody (40).
  • In 2019/20 there was a total of 6,177 days of custody provided by the JJC, 4.9% lower than in 2018/19 (6,497) and 33.4% lower than in 2015/16 (9,268). Of these days 3.5% were for PACE, 66.7% for remand and 29.7% for sentence.
  • The total number of admissions to the JJC was 11.6% lower in 2019/20 (298) than in 2018/19 (337).  Overall movements within the JJC, that is new admissions plus internal changes of status, such as PACE to Remand, was 9.0% lower in 2019/20 (416) than in the previous year (457). 
  • Of the 1,246 statutory referrals during 2019/20, the highest proportion involved violence against the person (34.3%; 428).

Notes to editors: 

1.  Official Statistics are produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.  They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs and are produced free from any political interference.  They are also subject to restrictions in terms of pre-release access. 

2.  The bulletin will be available in PDF format from either the Youth Justice Statistics and Research section of this website or alternatively by contacting Analytical Services Group, Youth Justice Agency, 41 Waring Street, Belfast, BT1 2DY Email:

3.  Media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office via email at:

4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted out of hours on 028 9037 8110.

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