Northern Ireland Youth Justice Agency Annual Workload Statistics 2022/23 published today

Date published: 14 September 2023

The Department of Justice (DoJ) has today published Research and Statistics Bulletin:
• ‘Northern Ireland Youth Justice Agency Annual Workload Statistics 2022/23’.

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This annual Official Statistics publication provides workload statistics for the last five financial years for both Youth Justice Services (YJS) and Custodial Services (Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre, JJC) 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.

  • The number of referrals to the YJS in 2022/23 was 1,361, a decrease of 5.2% from 2021/22 (1,435).
  • Diversionary referrals (47.6%; 648) accounted for the largest proportion of all referrals in 2022/23, followed by Court Ordered (27.0%; 367) and Earlier Stage Diversions (16.9%; 230).
  • The number of individuals referred to YJS in 2022/23 (774) decreased by 14.4% from the previous year (904).
  • The total number of individuals in custody increased by 3.8% (106, 2021/22; 110, 2022/23).
  • As in previous years males accounted for the majority of YJS referrals (75.3%) and of children referred to YJS (76.5%) and in custody (81.8%).
  • During 2022/23, 66.4% of total referrals and 65.2% of individuals referred to YJS were aged 15 and over; the corresponding figure for children in custody was 82.7%.
  • In 2022/23, 57.3% of children in custody were Catholic; 13.6% were Protestant.
  • Of the children in custody during 2022/23, 41.8% were in care (32.7% were subject to a care order; 9.1% were voluntary accommodated).
  • In terms of local government district, Belfast had the highest number of YJS referrals (231) and the highest number of children referred to YJS (160).  Derry City and Strabane had the highest number of admissions to custody (44) while Belfast had the highest number of children in custody (22).  Regarding children in custody, Derry City and Strabane had the highest rate per 1,000 at 1.0.
  • In 2022/23, there was a total of 3,844 days of custody provided by the JJC, 23.2% higher than in 2021/22 (3,120) and 40.8% lower than in 2018/19 (6,497). Of these days 5.4% were for PACE, 85.1% for remand and 9.4% for sentence.
  • The total number of admissions to the JJC was 8.2% higher in 2022/23 (224) than in 2021/22 (207).  Overall movements within the JJC, that is new admissions plus internal changes of status, such as PACE to Remand, was 9.0% higher in 2022/23 (314) than in the previous year (288). 
  • Of the 1,052 statutory referrals during 2022/23, the highest proportion involved violence against the person (40.3%; 424).

Notes to editors: 

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

2. This bulletin is available from the publication section of this website or Analytical Services Group, Financial Services Division, Block B, Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 3SG. EMAIL

3. For media enquiries contact the Department of Justice Press Office via EMAIL

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

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