Home Law International Handbook of Juvenile Justice
DIFFERENCES IN TREATMENT OF BOYS AND GIRLS
Analysis of outcomes from the GJDP identify that two-thirds (66 %) of girls compared to less than half (45 %>) of boys received an informal caution in 2013 (An Garda Siochana 2013). Boys were more likely to be formally cautioned and more than twice as likely as girls to be sent forward for prosecution. Further analysis of the data is required to explain the differential responses, but a possible explanation is that more girls (81 %>) than boys (66 %>) were first-time referrals. Over one- fifth of boys (22 %) had 2-3 referrals compared to 14 %> of girls and 12 % of boys, compared to 5 % of girls had 4 or more referrals (ibid.). Gender profile data on sentencing outcomes is not provided by the Court Service meaning that no insight can be provided on the courts’ treatment of boys’ and girls’ offending. Probation Service statistics suggest that 8 % of the juvenile caseload consists of young females (under 18 years) but no further information exists on how gender manifests within case supervision (Probation Service 2014:55). Girls up to 18 years have been detained within the Children Detention School system since 01 March 2007 unlike their 17-year-old male counterparts, some of whom continue to be detained within the adult prison system (see Children and Detention).
Girls’ offending motivation and pathways into crime differs from boys and suggests that differential responses are required (Barry 2006). Despite the evidence, there is no specific gender responsive strategy currently in existence in the juvenile justice system in Ireland to address potential differences in responses to boys’ and girls’ offending behaviour.
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