Youth Justice and Child Protection

Youth Justice and Child Protection

Youth Justice and Child Protection

Youth Justice and Child Protection


With ever-increasing new policies on 'anti-social behaviour' and ongoing public concern over the care of children, juvenile crime and law breaking, this new book is a timely examination of recent developments in the areas of youth justice and child protection. The central focus of the book is on whether society and young people in state care, both in young offenders' institutes or foster/care homes, are better served by the dispensation of justice or appropriate family support. A broad range of international contributors discuss different approaches to this issue and the varying extent to which it is dealt with as part of the same system ranging from the English, Welsh, Western European, US and Canadian arrangements, where judicial and service responses are largely segregated to the Scottish system where both are dealt with in the same children's hearing system. The contributors also consider the implications of these arrangements for the rights of society on the one hand, children and parents on the other, and provide information on the rationale for current policy, new proposals, and the efficacy of the different systems. Youth Justice and Child Protection will be an important reference for policy-makers, social workers, carers, academics, students, lawyers, magistrates, sheriffs, health professionals and all those working in youth justice and child protection.


This book arose out of a conference held in Scotland in September 2003, under the auspices of the University of Glasgow, entitled 'The Scottish Children's Hearings at a Crossroads'. This conference reviewed the Children's Hearings System in the light of developments in other jurisdictions.

The Children's Hearings were first convened in April 1971. They resulted from the recommendations of a working party chaired by a distinguished judge, Lord Kilbrandon, whose report was published in 1964. The remit of this committee was 'to consider the provisions of the law of Scotland relating to the treatment of juvenile delinquents and juveniles in need of care and protection or beyond parental control'. The 'Kilbrandon Report', as it came to be known, aimed to remove children under the age of 16 years from adult criminal procedures. The report proved to be an unexpectedly radical document with its central proposal to replace court attendance by appearance of child and parents before a lay panel of three members: the 'Children's Hearing'.

In the 35 years of their existence these informal panels, comprising and chaired by lay volunteers, have established themselves as a significant contribution to child welfare and juvenile justice in Scotland with only minor modifications of procedures. The decision to bring a child to the Hearing is the responsibility of an official, the Children's Reporter, guided by two considerations: that the grounds for so doing are accepted by the child and parent or can be proved, and that compulsory measures of 'treatment' are required. This separates judgment of innocence or guilt from measures in the interests of the welfare of the child.

Whereas in the early decades of the system, the majority of children were referred because of adolescent behavioural problems, the age range has steadily lowered and the concerns are increasingly those associated with child neglect and abuse. More recently, issues have emerged, social and political, with both national and international implications. Within the United Kingdom . . .

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