Movement restriction conditions in the children's hearing system: guidance

Information for social workers who have a statutory responsibility to present information to children’s panel members.

Flexibility and Step-down

10.0 The MRC as a disposal of the Children's Hearing has the potential to be used in a flexible fashion. It is important for the Lead Professional to consider how the imposition of what is a restrictive disposal might still be used in such a manner as to maximise any identified strengths or protective factors in a young person's life and to minimise risks.

10.1 A young person made subject to an MRC may already be involved in some form of regular pro-social or structured activity ( e.g. attending a youth club on a Saturday evening or training and playing for a local football team.) Any EM restriction imposed on a young person should be tailored to ensure that ongoing participation in these activities is not jeopardised.

10.2 The concerns that have led to the imposition of an MRC may have stemmed from a particular pattern of offending behaviour ( e.g. a young person's involvement in acts of violence while under the influence of alcohol on a Friday and Saturday night.) In such circumstances, some form of weekend-only curfew may prove appropriate with restrictions during the week unnecessary.

10.3 A young person may reside at an address at which they have access to a garden, a common stair or some other public or private space which they use regularly. It is important that the order with MRC condition makes explicit the monitoring and restriction boundaries which will be in operation at any address as informed by the Lead Professional's assessment. Therefore the report recommending the MRC should make explicit whether the boundary of the restriction includes any areas outwith the walls of the property.

10.4 The use of a curfew requiring a young person to reside at a specific address is not the sole means by which to tackle a young person's concerning behaviour. It may prove as effective to consider any "address, location or place which the child is required not to enter" [18] . If a young person tends to become embroiled in problematic behaviour at a particular locus in the community ( e.g. in the vicinity of the local secondary school or at the home of another individual of concern), it may prove more beneficial to restrict access from that particular locus through monitored exclusion zones. With respect to exclusion zones, it is important that a balance is found between the need to ensure the length of time a young person's movements are restricted is kept to a minimum and the need to ensure any exclusion zone is purposeful [19] . It is important to note that such a measure in the MRC excluding a young person from a location can only be used in conjunction with a MRC that requires the young person to reside and remain at a place.

10.5 When a young person has been placed in secure accommodation either through means of an interim compulsory supervision order or a compulsory supervision order with secure accommodation authorisation, a Children's Hearing will be required to review this form of detention on a regular basis. The Lead Professional ought to consider the potential for an MRC to be used as means by which to shorten the length of time a young person is deprived of his liberty in secure accommodation. In such instances the MRC might be understood as a means by which to smooth the young person's transition back into the community.

10.6 Bearing in mind that depriving a young person under the age of 18 of his liberty should only ever be a "last resort" and for the shortest time possible, using an MRC as a step-down resource may provide a mechanism to manage a young person's behaviour in the community where they continue to meet "secure and MRC criteria".


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