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Annual hearings data published

The Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA) has published its annual hearings data for the latest full year, 2023-24. It shows an overall small decline in the number of hearings across Scotland. 

The statistics show that in 2023-24, 10,197 children and young people in Scotland were referred to the Children’s Reporter. This represents 1.1% of all children and young people in Scotland.

There were 21,613 hearings across the whole country, a decline of 3% or 728 hearings. However, the number of hearing sessions, which most affects demand on Panel Member capacity, was down only 1%, at 8,753 for the year.

Care and protection

The majority of children and young people (8,196) were referred due to concerns about them (care and protection grounds).

Lack of parental care is the most common reason assigned by Reporters when a child or young person is referred to the Reporter.

Most common age of referral

The most common ages for children and young people to be referred to the Reporter continues to be 14 and 15 years. For very young children (those who were aged under one) the principal concern identified in the referral related to a lack of parental care or having close connection with a person who has carried out domestic abuse.

The number of children and young people with Child Protection Orders in 2023/2024 was 478. Proportionately, more Child Protection Orders are granted for very young children (especially new-born babies), than any other age, reflecting their high risk and vulnerability and requirement for immediate protection.

Nearly half CPOs for under-2s

Of the 478 children with Child Protection Order referrals received in 2023-24, 100 (20.9%) were aged under 20 days at the date of receipt, 185 (38.7%) were aged under one year and 220 (46.0%) were aged under two years.

In 2023-24, 2,701 children aged between 12 and 17 years were referred to the Reporter on offence grounds. The most common types of alleged offences were assault, threatening or abusive behaviour and vandalism.

The most common reason for a Children’s hearing in the period was to review a Compulsory Supervision Order.

At 31 March 2024, 6,490 children and young people were subject to a Compulsory Supervision Order. The majority (85.4%) have only ever been referred on care and protection grounds.

The full set of official statistics can be found on the Resources section of the SRAS website.