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Youth justice in the UK: children, young people and crime
Youth justice in the UK: children, young people and crime

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6 The language of justice

Few people in Scotland would say their system is perfect. You have listened to children saying as much in this session. Equally, few people would deny it is also very different from the systems prevailing in the rest of the UK. This difference is crystallised in its name – Children’s Hearings.

This language is important because it signals the priorities of the system in two simple words that anyone can understand. If you live in England or Wales, or Northern Ireland, where the language of criminal justice and offending has been more dominant over the last 30 to 40 years, it can be a surprise to discover this other language. As you progress through this course, you will see how the language of youth justice is changing. Something old, something new, as the saying goes.

If Scotland has drawn on its old traditions, Northern Ireland has borrowed from afar to integrate restorative justice conferencing systems into the reform of its youth justice system. This is what you turn to in the next session.