The Department of Justice (DoJ) today published a Research and Statistical Bulletin on 'Youth Engagement Statistics for Northern Ireland 2021/22'. 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 2021 - 31 March 2022. It provides 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 and the impact of this may still be seen in the figures reported.
- There were 2,487 cases relating to young people coming into formal contact with the criminal justice system in 2021-22. This is an increase of 220 (9.7%) from 2020-21.
- The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) assessed 40.9% (1,016) of cases suitable for resolution through the Youth Engagement process and 53.5% (1,330) as not suitable.
- The majority (75.3%, 1,873) of young people coming into formal contact with the justice system in 2021-22 were male1.
- Almost half, (49.9%, 1,242) of cases in 2021-22 were in relation to those aged 16 or 17 at the time of their offence. The remaining 50.1 % (1,245) were aged 10 to 15 at the time of their offence.
- Of those assessed by PPS as not suitable for Youth Engagement, 41.0% (545) were deemed suitable for prosecution and 58.3% (775) were assessed as requiring no further action.
- The most frequent outcome of those completing the youth engagement process, 41.3% (420), was a Youth Conference.
- Almost all of the cases (89.0%, 81) 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 2021-22 was 66 days, a decrease of 12 days from the median time recorded in 2020-21.
- Legal representation, while offered to individuals, was declined in the majority (83.0%, 599) of cases by the family.
- Of those who participated in a Youth Engagement clinic and responded to the survey question, 98.9% (258) of young people stated the clinic 'helped them understand the choices available to them'.