The Scottish Government's Programme for Government 2021/2022 outlined a commitment to "…safeguard young people within the youth justice system, supporting a presumption against under 18s in the Criminal Justice System, keeping them out of young offenders' institutes where possible and appropriate, while ensuring that victims receive the support they need." This commitment forms part of the Scottish Government's aim to 'Keep the Promise' for care experienced children and young people, and also aims to continue to embed both GIRFEC and UNCRC for all children in Scotland.
In March 2022, the Scottish Government launched a formal public consultation which outlined the policy and legislative proposals that have, to date, been developed to achieve this aim. All proposals draw upon the evidence base that exists in Scotland: from children and young people with lived experience of the care and justice systems, from practitioners, stakeholders and academics. In respect of certain elements of these proposals, prior consultation was undertaken and specific proposals were developed. In respect of other matters, the consultation document outlined issues and objectives and then set out options as to potential solutions. By launching a formal consultation, the Scottish Government aimed to gather and explore civil society and individual views and perspectives on these proposals, or alternatives, and how they could best be implemented and delivered.
The Scottish Government will consider the balance of views and perspectives gathered within this consultation to inform the development of the Children's Care and Justice Bill, which will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament in due course. In order to facilitate this process, the Scottish Government commissioned the Children and Young People's Centre for Justice (CYCJ) to analyse and present the findings from the formal public consultation. The Scottish Government has also undertaken a range of additional engagement activities across key partners and stakeholders about the proposals, although this report is limited to those responses received in the formal consultation.
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