Harmonising the Disclosure of Childhood Criminal Records with Child First Principles: Comparing the Approaches in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland

Raymond Arthur*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are committed to developing youth justice systems that are ‘Child First’, which broadly means that the responses to youth offending aim to reduce offending while working to make a meaningful and positive difference to children’s lives to allow them to reintegrate into society. The focus of this article is upon the regulation of the disclosure of records of childhood offending and the extent to which these procedures are consistent with a Child First approach in both jurisdictions. Disclosure of records of childhood offending can impede rehabilitation, increase future interactions with the criminal justice system and impact upon job prospects throughout the life course. Both jurisdictions have developed procedures to avoid the risks of criminalisation and stigmatisation by ensuring that records of childhood criminal behaviour can become ‘wiped clean’ and not disclosable in future employment applications. This article will compare and contrast the approach adopted in both jurisdictions and consider the extent to which the respective approaches conform with Child First principles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-36
JournalIrish Journal of Family Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023

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