Youth offending - general information

We offer Criminal Justice social care support for young offenders through either a voluntary basis or through the Children’s Hearing system, rather than the Court.

If a Youth offends at a lower level the Police will also refer the child to the Reporter to the Children’s Hearing who will seek further information from both Social Services and Education regarding the child.

Assessing needs

If further information is sought, Social Services will assess the child’s circumstances to determine whether any support is required from either social services or other organisations and if so, what level of support is provided. 

Support can be provided either:

  • voluntarily
  • through statute (supporting either the child or the family)

If the assessment concludes that statutory care is required, the social worker will recommend a Children’s Hearing is held and that a Supervision requirement in terms of Section 70 of the Social Work (Scotland) 1995 Act is made.

Social Services support

If the assessment concludes that a child or their family requires support in relation to the child’s offending behaviour, usually a social worker will be allocated to the child.  The social worker will work with the child and their family to tackle the issue of offending and any underlying causes which led to the offence.  Depending on the nature and causes of the offending, other resources can be used to provide enhanced support to the child and/or their family.

Working together to reduce reoffending

Unless a child is causing a significant risk to themselves or others in the community, the service will usually work closely with the child and their family to support the child to remain with their family. The child's parents will be involved at every stage in a partnership to reduce the offending. However, at times this will not be possible and children will be accommodated either with foster carers or in residential care where the work to reduce the child's offending will continue by the social worker and the people caring for the child.

Serious offending

If a child commits a very serious offence they are likely to be dealt with through an adult court with advice from the Children's Hearing and the court can sentence them to a period in secure accommodation.

Youths over 16

Young people over sixteen but under eighteen years old can be both subject to a supervision requirement under the Children's Hearing system and, if they commit further offences, are likely to need to appear in court. In such circumstances the sheriff can remit the case to the Children's Panel to allow them to deal with the offence.  The Children's and Families social worker will continue to offer support to reduce the offending behaviour.

Ongoing support

If a child has been accommodated, either with foster carers or in residential care, past their sixteenth birthday, then Stirling Council's Throughcare and Aftercare Team will offer Pathways support to young people which will include work to support young people to reduce their offending if this is a problem.  This support will continue to be offered until they are nineteen years old and, in some circumstances, beyond.  

Often the Throughcare and Aftercare workers will work closely with colleagues in the Adult Criminal Justice team and other adult services supporting adult Criminal Justice.

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