Helping young people navigate the youth justice system

Two online interactive resources, aimed at helping children and young people to understand the journey through Scotland’s youth justice system, have been updated and revised for 2019.

‘Youth and Criminal Justice in Scotland: the Young Person’s Journey’ and the accompanying Journey through Justice were designed by the Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ) and charitable social services company Iriss to help children and young people who have been charged with an offence by the police, and their families/carers, to understand what happens when you enter the criminal justice system.

‘Youth and Criminal Justice in Scotland: the Young Person’s Journey’ was launched by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, the then Minister for Community Safety & Legal Affairs in 2016, in response to a growing awareness that young people are often confused about court processes and the experience of being taken into custody.

In 2017, ‘Journey through Justice’ was created, following feedback that the Young Person’s Journey resource was not always easily accessible to 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.

Fiona Dyer, Interim Director of CYCJ, said:

“As far as possible children and young people should be kept out of the youth and criminal justice system, and progress to achieve this so far has been encouraging. However, for those who do end up in formal systems, the experience can be confusing and frightening and it can be difficult for children and young people, their families, and professionals to know where to find readily accessible, coordinated information. That’s why we produced these resources, and hope that the young people who use it – and those supporting them – find it to be helpful and informative.

“We will continue to update these resources annually, in line with the latest changes to legislation and policy.”

These resources describe the stages in the youth and criminal justice process for under 18s in Scotland, from suspicion of having committed an offence through to support after completion of sentence.

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.

Both resources were developed in conjunction with the following organisations: Iriss, Scottish Prison Service, The Scottish Government, SOLD, Families Outside, St. Mary’s Kenmure, RMA, NHS Forth Valley, Criminal Justice Voluntary Sector Forum, North Lanarkshire Council, Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, Kibble and The Good Shepherd Centre.

If you would like to contribute to The Young Person’s Journey or Journey through Justice, please contact the CYCJ team at

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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