Updating the child’s journey

An online resource created by the Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ) and Iriss aimed at guiding children, families and professionals through the justice system when a child is in conflict with the law, has been relaunched and renamed for 2021.

‘The child’s journey: A guide to the Scottish justice system’ is the new name for ‘Youth and Criminal Justice in Scotland: the Young Person’s Journey’. This online interactive resource describes the stages in the justice system for under 18s in Scotland, from suspicion of having committed an offence through to support after completion of a sentence.

Originally launched in 2016, it was created in response to a growing awareness that children and young people, as well as those who support them, are often confused about police and court processes, the requirements of sentences and the experience of being taken into custody. These findings have been echoed in more recent CYCJ research and activity.

The accompanying ‘Journey through Justice’ was introduced in 2017, aimed directly at children and young people. This followed feedback that the Young Person’s Journey resource was not always easily accessible to children and young people wanting to gain information on the youth justice system. The name, as well as its look and content, was devised by young people from a number of settings, working closely with CYCJ and Iriss.

Both resources are updated annually, reflecting changes in policy and legislation. However, it was felt the time was right to give the Young Person’s Journey a fuller refresh, with a new name to reflect changes in language and approaches, and a range of additional sections. This includes further information on children’s rights, restorative justice, contextual safeguarding, and bail and remand.

Fiona Dyer, Director of CYCJ (Interim), said:

“Since we introduced the original ‘Young Person’s Journey’ resource, there has been a welcome shift in the youth justice landscape towards children’s rights, with the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law expected to happen this year. At CYCJ, our focus is on helping to develop child-centred systems and practices, and supporting practitioners to make sure children’s rights are upheld and respected throughout all justice processes.

“Being charged with an offence can be a confusing experience, especially as more than half of children in the justice system present with speech, language and communication needs, making the situation more challenging for the child to understand and participate. This can lead to unfair outcomes and longer sentences being imposed. We wanted these issues to be reflected in our resource, and needed a title that would clearly communicate its purpose and aims to those looking to use it.

“We recognise that navigating the justice system can also be difficult for practitioners within the broad youth justice workforce who will have roles and responsibilities in supporting children through the system. If children’s rights are to be upheld, practitioners need to be able to understand what these are and how they can be upheld at each stage of the system. Practitioners also have a pivotal role in helping children to navigate the system – and to do so they need to understand the system. We hope this resource can effectively meet this need.”

Within the resource the law, processes, practices, guidance and responsibilities are explained with links to further information and resources. It supports (but does not replace) the skills and requirements of relationship-based practice, partnership working and information sharing.

If you would like to offer feedback or contribute to these resources, please contact cycj@strath.ac.uk.

Contact Us

Children's and Young People's Centre for Justice
University of Strathclyde
Lord Hope Building, Level 6
141 St. James Road Glasgow G4 0LT

(0141) 444 8622


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