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Children referred to Children’s Reporter decreases for 13th consecutive year

There were 12,849 children and young people in Scotland referred to the Children’s Reporter in 2019-2020.

The figures showed that of the 12,849 children and young people referred, 10,823 were referred on non-offence (care and protection) grounds and 2,840 were referred on offence grounds. It also revealed that of the 12,849 children, 814 children and young people had both care and protection and offence referrals in the year.

The figure of 12,849 children and young people referred to the Reporter in 2019/20 equates to 1.4% of all children and young people in Scotland.

The number of children and young people referred to the Reporter has decreased for the 13th consecutive year.

However, the change this year is not significant and may be accounted for by error margins. Data throughout this report may also have been impacted by COVID-19 although the impact will not be significant as the lockdown in Scotland only covered a week of this analysis (from the 23rd March 2020) and emergency legislation was not in place until April 2020.

The most common ages for children and young people to be referred to the Reporter were 14 and 15 years old. This has historically been the case for both care and protection and offence grounds, but for the past two years 13 and 14 years of age are the most common ages for care and protection grounds.

A lack of parental care is the most common ground that a child or young person is referred to the Reporter. More children are referred on this ground in the first year of their life than any other age (13.1% of the children and young people referred on this ground).

In 2019-2020, there were 547 children and young people with Child Protection Orders (CPOs). Of these 547 children and young people, 115 or 21.0% were aged under 20 days at the date of receipt and 237 or 43.3% were aged under two years.

At 31 March 2020, 8,875 children and young people were subject to Compulsory Supervision Orders. Of those 8,875 children and young people, 84.5% have only ever been referred on care and protection grounds.

There were 30,363 Children’s Hearings held across Scotland for 13,316 children and young people in 2019/20, the figures confirmed.

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