Children and adults with care experience are often disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system. Research shows that children in residential care are likely to have increased contact with the police. In addition, they are more likely to be involved in formal processes in the justice system where they may be criminalised and given convictions for behaviour that would otherwise be resolved in families’ lives.
We welcome the opportunity to respond to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Youth Justice Standards. These will update the minimum standards for delivery of youth justice in Scotland, ensuring that vulnerable children and young people within the criminal justice system receive appropriate support, care and protection.
The standards could be strengthened by inclusion of the diverse care experiences of children and young people (including foster care, kinship care and children looked after at home, alongside residential care) and the impact this has in upholding their rights. There should be consideration in the standards of the following issues: access to mental health and other health support, access to education, maintaining relationships with family and carers, use of restraint, participation such as having views taken into account, and well as access to legal advice.