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Welfare, offending and the Scottish children's hearings system

McDiarmid, C.R. (2005) Welfare, offending and the Scottish children's hearings system. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 27 (1). pp. 31-42. ISSN 0964-9069

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In the light of the Scottish Executive's ongoing review of the children's hearings system, and recently published statistics demonstrating an increase in the number of children referred to the children's Reporter on the offence ground, this article considers and defends the role of welfare in decision-making in relation to children referred to a children's hearing in Scotland on the ground that they have committed an offence. It examines the hearings system's welfare roots, as set down in the 1964 Kilbrandon Report, and considers two recent empirical studies indicating that the conditions constituting Kilbrandon's justification for 'mixing the deprived and the depraved' continue to be prevalent today. It also examines the future for welfare as the primary response to children who offend in Scotland against the background of an increasingly punitive political climate. It concludes that the case against welfare has not been made out.