Whether you’re a child, young person or an adult seeking support and trying to understand how the justice system works, this is a space for you. Here you’ll find info and advice, the rights you’re entitled to and other people’s experiences, and places that can offer you support.

This website was created by the Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ) and has been co-designed with young people who have justice experience.

Your journey through justice

The following resources offer you support throughout the system – from being charged by the police to what happens after you leave court or are convicted. It also offers related resources which can help you support your child with issues affecting them.

Words and phrases in the justice system and in court are not always easy to understand. Sometimes, this can even lead to an unfair experience in court.

Who can support me?

There are many people and services out there that can offer you support. These are some of these places we think might be helpful.

Be a Change Maker

Children and young people’s voices should be at the heart of any decisions and changes within the justice system.

More organisations are involving justice and care experienced people in the work that they do. People might want to share their views on how to influence change in the system.

Already children and young people in Scotland have been playing a big part in making change happen. You can read more in this section.  

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There are more opportunities than ever before to have your say on how we do justice. Here are some of the groups we know about. If you’d like us to add a group or project, please get in touch.

Tell us what you think about the justice and care systems, what your experiences are, or the things you think need to change. Maybe you’d like to tell your story in a blog/reel, or in artwork.

This website is a work in progress. Help us make it better by sharing your ideas about what you’d like to see.

Your rights, your life

Watch Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, on children’s rights.

Everyone has rights, whether they’re a child or an adult. No matter what they have done. We believe that every child should have opportunities to learn about their rights and to know how to make sure these are met.

If you are a child who is in conflict with the law, then you have a right to understand what is happening to you when you enter the justice system. 

Throughout this, you should be given clear information about your rights. If you need it, you should have an adult you can trust who can help you understand your rights.  

Adults need to learn about rights too. This includes parents and carers, adults in the community and professional people, including those that work and volunteer in the Children’s Hearings System and the justice system (such as Police Scotland and the Scottish Prison Service). 

There are many international agreements and laws that help us understand the rights of children, including when children are in conflict with the law.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, called the UNCRC for short, is the international agreement that sets out all the rights children have from birth to the age of 18. Scotland is in the process of making the UNCRC part of its laws. This process is called incorporation.

The Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland has this useful guide to children’s rights.

The 44 Standards set out what children and young people in secure care can expect. They focus on the child’s journey before, during and after secure care and how that should look and feel. These Standards were developed with children and young people with experience of secure care. Find out more.

These resources have been designed by CYCJ and others to help you better understand the rights you are entitled to in the justice system and custody.

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