Children in conflict with the law: Key Messages 2023/24

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper


At CYCJ we believe in adopting a rights-respecting approach for all children and young people in conflict with the law. Knowing and understanding what children’s rights are is essential to ensuring that those rights are upheld. The following key messages support this, as well as meeting the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), The Promise and Getting It Right for Every Child. Children in conflict with the law can be placed in vulnerable situations and it is widely recognised that their behaviour is often a reaction to their circumstances and experiences (McAra & McVie, 2022), (Vaswani, 2018),(Lightowler, 2020). We therefore need to treat children who offend as children, first and foremost (McAra & McVie, 2010) and ensure that they experience ‘justice’ in the true meaning of the word. By understanding their needs and upholding their rights we have a better chance of addressing offending behaviours and building a more inclusive/safe society for all, including those who have been harmed and communities. The Children (Care and Justice) (Scotland) Bill has the potential to significantly change the way in which children are responded to when they come into conflict with the law, ensuring that their rights are upheld in line with the UNCRC.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGlasgow
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2023


  • CYCJ
  • key messages
  • children
  • youth courts
  • criminal Justice


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