Children in conflict with the law are often some of the most vulnerable or disadvantaged in society. They have often faced significant adversity during childhood, including abuse, loss, bereavement and trauma, as well as inequality, discrimination and disadvantage. The Equality Act (2010) sets out a number of protected characteristics which are:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
It is unlawful to discriminate against someone because of a protected characteristic. We also know that these characteristics can affect how children engage with justice systems. However, there is little research or data published in Scotland about children in conflict with the law and protected characteristics, so the extent and understanding of the issue for children in conflict with the law is limited. There is almost no research that takes an intersectional view of children’s experiences of justice.
This project was funded by internal HaSS Faculty funds at the University of Strathclyde. The purpose of this brief and preliminary review was to explore and consider the existing data and research literature in relation to inequalities in the justice system for children in conflict with the law who possess protected characteristics. Our aim was to help increase understanding about the needs and experiences of children in conflict with the law, identify any knowledge gaps and shape future research priorities.
You can read a summary of our findings here.