Preventing offending is integral to our vision of Scotland as the best place to grow up - Getting it Right for Every Child in Scotland.
The Scottish approach to youth justice builds on the hugely influential Kilbrandon Report (1964) by responding to deeds in the context of needs. We see, understand and deal with offending behaviour in an integrated way to help the child, their family and the community to flourish.
Our 2008 'Preventing Offending by Young People - Framework for Action' document was a significant shift towards prevention and early intervention, combined with interventions to manage high risk and build community confidence.
The past seven years have seen some striking successes - with substantial reductions in offence referrals to the Children's Reporter, numbers of young people committing crimes and offences and the number of 16 and 17 year olds in prison.
Significant challenges do remain however, and we must ensure this work is given the continued priority it needs. A preventative approach has the best chance of reducing crime, improving life chances and making good use of public resources. Timely, appropriate and effective interventions are needed to address offending behaviour and ensure communities and children stay safe from crime. We know also that children involved in offending can be victims themselves.
This document builds on our recent progress and offers a clear set of forward priorities.
I thank all the partners involved in the development of this strategy. Their on-going support and commitment will be critical to delivering even better results for young people, victims and communities.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice