Preventing offending is key to our vision of Scotland as the best place to grow up.

We focus on tackling the causes of offending by young people and supporting them to change their behaviour, with the aim of avoiding them entering the criminal justice system.

Young people who offend may be referred to the Children’s Hearings System if it is appropriate. Scotland's Children's Hearings System takes an integrated and holistic approach to care and justice, in which the child's best interests are the paramount consideration. Children and young people who offend, as well as those who require care and protection, should equally be considered 'children in need'.


We are delivering on the priorities set out in our youth justice strategy 2015 to 2020

Our work includes:

Implementation of the youth justice strategy is being driven by the Youth Justice Improvement Board.  Children’s hearings system improvements are supported by the Children’s Hearings Improvement Partnership


We published a report in June 2017 updating on progress made since we published our 2015 youth justice strategy. This builds on the progress that’s already been made, and sets out our priorities for 2015 to 2020:

Preventing offending: Getting it right for children and young people: progress report

Bills and legislation

Related information



Central enquiry unit 0300 244 4000    

Care and Justice Division
Scottish Government
Area 2-B North
Victoria Quay

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