I am delighted to introduce these standards which are intended to guide both strategic and operational services' understanding of what is expected at each stage of a child's journey through the justice system.
Preventing offending is integral to our vision of Scotland as the best place to grow up – Getting it Right for Every Child in Scotland. Our vision of Scotland as the best place to grow up extends to all of our children.
In Scotland, we have a proud record of taking a holistic approach to the needs of our children. For those in conflict with the law we remain committed to tackling the causes and impact of offending behaviour together with addressing wider needs. As far as possible children should be kept away from formal measures, whether that be through the Children's Hearings System or the Criminal Justice System, with proven alternative interventions used to address the behaviour and causes. Interventions must be timely, proportionate and credible to ensure victims and communities have confidence that unacceptable and harmful behaviour is being challenged.
There has been significant progress made over the last 12 years since the introduction of the Whole System Approach to preventing offending by young people and the shift towards prevention. However, there is still more we can do to ensure that the rights of children in Scotland are protected. We need to continue to work together in a partnership approach to build on achievements.
The new Rights-Respecting Approach to Justice for Children and Young People: Scotland's Vision and Priorities and accompanying action plan outline a shared foundation between the Scottish Government and key partners to work together, to prevent children and young people from being involved in behaviour which leads them to be in conflict with the law and to ensure that those already involved in such behaviour are fully supported throughout their journey.
These standards complement the vision and replace those published in 2012. A public consultation took place between November 2019 and February 2020, the results of which were independently analysed and changes have been reflected in these new standards. Additions include support for victims, rights and participation and core principles and data sets to support local and national data collection to help monitor progress, service improvement and evidence improved outcomes.
I hope these standards will support improvements in practice, which in turn will deliver better outcomes for Scotland's children.
I would like to thank all who have been involved in developing these standards.
Clare Haughey MSP
Minister for Children and Young People