Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 4: Specific support needs and concerns 198 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 4.388 Where a child aged 12 or over is referred to a children’s hearing on the ground that they have committed an offence, in any resulting proof proceedings in the Sheriff Court the standard of proof is the same as the test that applies in criminal proceedings: beyond reasonable doubt. 4.389 The Scottish Government has consulted (2020) on raising the age at which a young person can be referred to a children’s hearing from 16 to 18. 4.390 The Principal Reporter will consider other factors as well as the sufficiency of evidence relating to the grounds when deciding whether to call a hearing. The child’s development, parenting and family and environmental factors are taken into account alongside the history of co‑operation with any previous intervention; the impact of any previous intervention; the current motivation to change; and the willingness to co‑operate with any intervention. Where a child is not referred to a children’s hearing, the Principal Reporter may refer the child back to the local authority for them to work with the child on a voluntary basis, or may take no further action. A fundamental principle of the children’s hearings system is that the hearing will consider the individual circumstances of each child, and should not make orders in respect of the child, such as Compulsory Supervision Orders, unless to do so is better for the child. 4.391 Article 40 of the UNCRC relates to the rights of children who have behaved unlawfully. In general terms public authorities are expected to provide a range of disposals such as supervision orders, care, counselling, education, training and support, to ensure that each child is dealt with in a manner appropriate to his/her wellbeing and proportionate both to his/her circumstances and relevant behaviour (see in particular Article 40(4)). Resources and References – Serious harmful behaviour by children Vulnerability to being drawn into terrorism 4.392 The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (section 26) places a duty on specified authorities in Scotland such as local authorities to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. It also places an obligation on local authorities to ensure that a panel of persons is in place for its area to assess the extent to which identified individuals are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism and, where appropriate, arrange for support to be provided. Revised HM Government Guidance (2021) is available for Scotland (Prevent Multi-Agency Panel Duty Guidance: Protecting people vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism ( When assessing referrals to such panels, local authorities and their partners should consider how best to align such assessments with child protection legislation and guidance. Resources and References – Vulnerability to being drawn into terrorism Complex investigations 4.393 ‘Complex investigations’ refers to a multi-agency response when there is reasonable concern about abuse involving one or more abusers and a number of related or non-related abused children or young people. The abusers concerned may be acting in an organised way to abuse children. Some such individuals and networks act in isolation. Others may use an institutional framework or position of authority to groom and abuse children. Guidance may be found above in the section concerning the response to child trafficking.