Children and young people’s views and experiences
As part of the consultation process in 2019, there was engagement with children and young people through partner agencies and stakeholders:
- Scottish Youth Parliament
- Scottish Children’s Parliament
- Education Scotland
- Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
- Law Society of Scotland
YoungScot and Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament representatives promoted the fireworks consultation on their website and social media platforms.
Two focus groups were held to engage with young people. These events provided an opportunity for young people to explore and discuss the use and impact – both positive and negative – of fireworks in Scotland:
- YoungScot facilitated a focus group with 9 young people aged 17 - 24 years.
- Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Fireskills programme facilitated a focus group of 7 young people aged 14 - 15 years.
We engaged with the Careers & Outreach Coordinator at the Law Society of Scotland to circulate the consultation details nationwide with schools they work with in relation to their outreach work. The consultation was also sent to contacts at Developing the Young Workforce and the law student Street Law trainers who attend a number of universities throughout Scotland.
A range of views and experiences were expressed by the young people during our engagement, including:
- At one of the focus groups, there were mixed opinions on the banning of fireworks with some young people suggesting that a ban would only cause people to buy illicit fireworks, which may be less safe.
- Attendees agreed, however, that there should be stricter controls surrounding the purchase and use of fireworks.
- Experiences that attendees had with fireworks in their communities were mostly positive although this was not the universal experience for all the young people involved in the focus groups.
- Young people who had either used fireworks, or encountered fireworks used by others, discussed what they considered to be responsible or irresponsible use. The latter included experience of using firecrackers to blow up a snowman’s head and setting off a naval flare inside the house.
- At another focus group, attendees discussed antisocial behaviour incidents on and around bonfire night. Attendees stated that they had not experienced or been involved in any antisocial incidents with fireworks but when prompted most of the group said they had experienced fireworks being used irresponsibly or unsafely.
- On the issue of the online sale of fireworks, young people agreed that fireworks are very easily available online and can be bought from a variety of websites along with Facebook and other social media channels. A number of the young people commented that they had seen fireworks for sale on social media, and that if they wanted to access them they would know who to go to in their local area to purchase them illicitly. It was noted that fireworks are cheaper to buy online and therefore people would be more inclined to buy them from online sources, even if the products are potentially unregulated or unsafe. Many people would not check the safety standards when buying fireworks online and mainly focus on the cost.
As part of a nationally representative opinion poll, more young people indicated they were in favour of more controls being introduced in relation to the sale of fireworks than those who did not (45% of 18-24 year olds were in favour, compared to 40% of 18-25 year olds who were not).
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