Youth offenders are complying with Covid-19 restrictions, according to a report by the University of Limerick which finds the majority of young people have been engaged in "pro-social behaviours and activities" during the pandemic.

The report is the first in a series looking at how young people participating in Garda Youth Diversion Projects throughout Ireland are responding to the Covid-19 public health measures.

Youth Justice Workers in the Garda Youth Diversion Projects conducted the surveys following the Government's Covid-19 public health measures introduced on 12 March.

It represents a small proportion (approximately 1 in 1,000) of all young people in Ireland.

While the study shows that the young people tended to be compliant in "keeping within the 2km distance", it found that they were less compliant in "maintaining a social distance" and "not gathering in groups".

Non-compliant behaviour ranged from "meeting with friends, playing football with friends, meeting friends for a cycle and hanging-out with friends at the shops", to more serious breaches of the restrictions that include travelling to other towns, counties and cities for socialising and in attempts to source illegal drugs, and meeting extended family.

Non-compliance by a minority of young people appears to be associated with more serious breaches, including drug and alcohol misuse.

There is some evidence to indicate that when restrictions first came into place young people appeared to socialise as they had done prior to the Covid-19 requirements.

However, it says a majority made moderate changes to their behaviour in the period afterwards.

The research was done by the University of Limerick's School of Law with funding from the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

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