"Welfare" and "Justice" in Irish youth justice: a children's rights analysis of diverse approaches to youth justice

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Forde, Louise
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University College Cork
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This research addresses the question of how the rights of children in conflict with the law, as set out under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (“the UNCRC”) and other international standards, are upheld within diverse models of youth justice. In doing so, it interrogates how concepts of “welfare” and “justice” operate in youth justice systems and impact on compliance with international children’s rights law. A welfare-based approach focuses on meeting any unmet needs as a response to offending; a justice-based system will have accountability for the wrongdoing through criminal processes as its primary focus. This thesis considers the practical impact of these concepts within youth justice systems in three different jurisdictions – Ireland, New Zealand and Scotland, and examines how the rights of the child under the UNCRC and other international instruments are vindicated in these different approaches. It ultimately argues that while challenges exist for ensuring rights-compliance in all models of youth justice, the international standards provide important guidance in the steps that should be taken to better realise children’s rights. This thesis identifies key issues that must be addressed in all youth justice systems, and makes specific recommendations on how improvements to the Irish system might be achieved.
Youth justice , Children's rights
Forde, L. 2018. "Welfare" and "Justice" in Irish youth justice: a children's rights analysis of diverse approaches to youth justice. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.