News In Focus
Hearing referrals "can damage life prospects"
Incidents which resulted in children being referred to children's hearings can prejudice their life prospects years later because of disclosure requirements, according to today's Herald.
The paper reports a warning issued following a meeting of bodies including the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration, the office of the Children's Commissioner and the Scottish Law Centre, that minor offences admitted to by a child at a hearing, without legal advice, can remain on their record and be revealed in an advanced disclosure check until the age of 40.
One person was refused a place in medical school because of a referral for possibly inappropriate sexual behaviour at the age of eight, even though no further action was taken at the time.
The meeting recognised that it would be difficult to decriminalise all grounds of referral, but questioned whether the current rules unduly stigmatise some young people.
A Scottish Government spokesman said it was keen to end the situation whereby offences might be disclosed after a long period and in a manner disproportionate to the offence.