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Views & Experiences of the Children’s Hearings System

Research with Children, Young People & Adults

Administration (SCRA) conducted a joint survey to gather feedback from adults, children and young people about their experience of the Children’s Hearings System. It was the first such joint initiative since the passage of the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 and sought to build on baseline information collected by SCRA in 2008.
A total of 745 people participated in the survey, including 456 adults, 158 young people and 131 children. Those taking part were asked whether they would be willing to participate in this piece of follow up qualitative work. In the event, this study drew on both adult survey participants and children and young people recruited specifically. However, the purpose of the study remained the same, to capture an in depth view of the lived experiences that lay behind the survey findings.

In general the 2012/13 survey findings provide an encouraging picture of the experiences of those attending Children’s Hearings. Findings about the provision of information for example suggest a positive direction of travel. One of the most positive findings was that both 99% of young people and 99% of adults said ‘yes’ they were treated with dignity and respect by SCRA staff when they came to the Hearing centre.

A notable finding for this study was that overall 71% of young people felt they were the most important person at their last hearing. This is significant because when the Children’s Hearings System was established, it was intended that what would distinguish hearings from juvenile courts was that the child would be at the centre of decision making and the driver for action would be the child's need for special measures of education, training or support. Subsequently Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out that the child has a right to express a view, if they are able to form one, in all matters affecting them.