The Department of Justice (DoJ) today published a Research and Statistical Bulletin on ‘Youth Engagement Statistics for Northern Ireland 2020/21’. It is an Official Statistics Publication.
This bulletin presents data on cases relating to young people (aged between 10 and 17 years) coming into formal contact with the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland for the year 1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021, providing some detail on those referred for the Youth Engagement process, alongside information on the time taken for that process to complete and on subsequent outcomes. Like the rest of the justice system, the Youth Engagement process was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, in the processing of cases and in the ability to conduct Youth Engagement clinics.
- There were 2,267 cases relating to young people coming into formal contact with the criminal justice system in 2020-21. This is a decrease of 456 (16.7%) from 2019-20.
- The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) assessed 49.4% (1,121) of cases suitable for resolution through the Youth Engagement process and 47.9% (1,085) as not suitable.
- The majority (75.5%, 1,712) of young people coming into formal contact with the justice system in 2020-21 were male.
- Over half, (51.4%, 1,166) of cases in 2020-21 were in relation to those aged from 16 or 17 at the time of their offence. The remaining 48.6 % (1,101) were aged 10 to 15 at the time of their offence.
- Of those assessed by PPS as not suitable for Youth Engagement, 50.7% (550) were deemed suitable for prosecution and 48.7% (528) were assessed as requiring no further action.
- The most common outcome for those going through Youth Engagement was a Youth Conference, with 41.2%, (462) receiving this outcome.
- All of the cases (100.0%, 68) removed from the Youth Engagement process were returned to the PPS for a further decision on how the case was to be progressed.
- The median time for a case to be dealt with through the Youth Engagement process in 2020-21 was 78 days, an increase of 29 days from the median time recorded in 2019-20.
- Legal representation, while offered to individuals, was declined in the majority (83.3%, 695) of cases by the family.
- Of those who participated in a Youth Engagement clinic and responded to the survey question, 98.3% (118) of young people stated the clinic ‘helped them understand the choices available to them’.
Notes to editors:
- This bulletin presents data on cases relating to young people coming into formal contact with the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland during the year 1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021. Additionally, the bulletin provides detail on those referred for the youth engagement process, alongside information on the time taken for that process to complete and on subsequent outcomes. Detail on the structure of the population concerned is also included.
- This is the third year this information has been available and it is anticipated that it will continue to be published annually. It is hoped that an updated version of this bulletin, containing figures relating to 2021/22, will be available in November 2022.
- The data used in this bulletin were, in the main, taken from the Causeway Data Sharing Mechanism (DSM1). They were extracted primarily based on records contained on the Criminal Records Viewer (CRV). The CRV is held on Causeway and utilises data which originated in the PSNI, PPS and from Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service (NICTS). Causeway is an interconnected information system, launched as a joint undertaking by the Criminal Justice Organisations (CJOs) in Northern Ireland.
- Data relating to youth engagement clinic dates and outcomes, sourced from the YJA Management Information System, are matched with the information from Causeway, to complete the dataset and information in relation to legal representation at clinics, as well as in relation to victim involvement, is sourced from PSNI.
- The figures reported in this bulletin, in the main, relate to cases where the date of charge (for charge cases), or date accused informed (for summons cases) falls within the year specified, where the case was prosecuted by the PPS on behalf of PSNI, Harbour Police, Airport Constabulary or the National Crime Agency (NCA). They relate to young people aged under 18 at time of offence.
- 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.
- The bulletin will be available in PDF format from either the DoJ web-site (www.justice-ni.gov.uk) or Analytical Services Group, Financial Services Division, Block B, Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 3SG
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