Scottish Youth Parliament/Action For Children Workshop 23 July
Images: Capturing young people's discussions by Graham Ogilvie
Note: Young people felt that 8 ('primary age kids') was too young to discern right and wrong, or to consciously 'break the law'. It was 'unfair' for children to accrue a record that young. They felt that 12 year olds had more experience, knowledge and personal responsibility.
Note: Delegates were unhappy about ongoing negative media coverage of young people and their behaviour, given that children's offence referrals have fallen sharply. See the Daily Mail's 'Feral youth army fuels crimewave' story on 8 August - SCRA 2014-15 figures show the number of children referred for offending was 2,761; in 2007-08, that number was 14,209.
Note: Young people felt that being trusted, valued and respected by police and other authorities - and being given 'a chance' - was powerful and effective in promoting better behaviour.
Note: Making children 'criminals' was costly to the taxpayer and damaging to the young people. Delegates felt that young people could be rehabilitated, learn from their mistakes and move to positive citizenship - if not dogged by a childhood record.
Note: Scotland as 'the best place to grow up' involved believing and investing in children, helping them to deal with, and then to get over, mistakes on the way to becoming productive adults. Delegates thought that the Advisory Group's proposed safeguards dealt well with the 'most serious cases'' challenges for risk management and public protection.