Rehabilitation for Youth in Conflict with the Law (Diversion)

The provincial Department of Social Development, along with non-profit organisations, runs a number of diversion programmes for children who have run foul of the law.

"Diversion" refers to diverting an accused child away from formal court procedures and towards a more constructive, positive solution based on the principles of restorative justice. Diversion may be offered either with or without conditions.

As at the beginning of 2007, the following Level One Diversion options were available at the provincial Department of Social Development's District Offices.

These options are only available to children who voluntarily confess to the crime and at the recommendation of a probation officer. All children who are arrested are supposed to be assessed by a probation officer within 48 hours of arrest.

  • SAYSTOP - For young sex offenders.
  • Family Group Conferencing - All probation officers have undergone training on restorative justice and are equipped to conduct Family Group Conferencing. This is both a diversion and a sentencing option.
  • Mentoring Programme - With the help of an NGO called Reach, this programme recruits suitable mentors to act as role models for children in trouble with the law. This project is being piloted in George.
  • Youth Empowerment Schemes - This programme, run by NICRO, caters for chidren (younger than 18) who are first-time offenders of less serious crimes.
  • The Journey - This programme, also run by NICRO, uses wilderness therapy to teach high-risk offenders crucial life skills.
Provided by:
Government Body: (Western Cape Government)
The content on this page was last updated on 28 August 2013