• STV
  • MySTV

Courts should not deal with troublesome teens

Older teenagers who break the law should be dealt with at a children's hearing and not the courts, says an independent panel.

Review: Revamp of system for older teens urged

Older teenagers who get into trouble with the law should not be dealt with by the courts, an independent panel urged.

The panel, brought together by the charity Action for Children Scotland, have been examining how the children`s hearing system could be reformed and they called for it to be extended to deal with those aged 16 and 17.

At the moment, anyone of that age charged with an offence can be dealt with by the court system.

But the charity said that four out of five young people who are locked up before the age of 18 go on to commit further crimes.

The former Bishop of Edinburgh Richard Holloway, the panel chairman, said the current approach was "doing nothing" to prevent re-offending.

He argued: "We believe there is an unanswerable case for extending the use of the hearings to all those under 18.

"Use of adult courts for immature and usually poorly-supported and poorly-educated young people has serious consequences for them and is doing nothing to reduce offending or cut the steadily growing prison population."

He added: "It is also hugely expensive - it costs around £48,000 a year to keep someone in a young offenders' institution when there are more effective and much cheaper alternatives that work intensively with young people to reduce offending."

The panel - which also included the journalist and broadcaster Ruth Wishart and historian Professor Tom Devine - further called for greater investment to be made to stop young people from becoming involved in crime.

It also wants to see more support for families who are struggling to care for their children and new powers for children`s hearings to be able to commission services directly to help and support young people.

The recommendations come a week after the Scottish Government published new legislation aimed at improving the children`s hearing system.

Louise Warde Hunter, strategic director for Action for Children in Scotland and Northern Ireland, urged politicians to consider the panel`s report.

She said: "The Scottish Hearings system was revolutionary in bringing both care and justice issues together. It was seen as enlightened when it was first introduced and remains so today.

"We thank the members of the independent panel for reviewing the current arrangements and producing recommendations on how we can strengthen the system further. We hope politicians will reflect and act on the many good ideas contained within the report."

The children`s hearing system was set up in the 1960s to deal with youngsters who were in trouble or at risk.

It is based on the system of local people in the child`s own communities making decisions about how best to help and there are currently more than 2,500 volunteers who sit on local children`s panels.

Children`s Minister Adam Ingram said last week the reforms the Scottish Government had put forward would modernise the system and bring it up to date.

The proposals, contained in the Children`s Hearings (Scotland) Bill, will create a new national body with a convener, who will be responsible for setting standards for the recruitment, support and training of local children`s panel members.

The Bill also aims to ensure the fundamental principle of protecting children`s welfare remains at the heart of the system.
 

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.