Effect of childhood conviction EFFECT OF CHARGE OR CONVICTION OF A CHILD LATER IN LIFE Ryan, 12, got into trouble with the police. Ryan’s lawyer went through the hearing papers with him so that he knew what they said about him and meant for him and could decide if he agreed with the reasons he had been referred to the Children’s Panel. Ryan accepted some of what was said but not all of it. Ryan’s lawyer explained the law and what it meant for Ryan and, importantly, gave him legal advice about the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act so that he understood that if he accepted the grounds for referral to the Children’s Panel, he would also be accepting charges which might come up in the future if he applied for jobs that required checks for a criminal record. Ryan’s lawyer explained the legal process, what was going on during the hearing and the powers which the panel had. At the hearing Ryan’s lawyer helped Ryan to tell the Panel his view and went through the facts, charges and reasons for referral to the Children’s Panel. The Children’s Panel decided that statements which Ryan denied would be deleted. Ryan’s solicitor helped him to explain his views to the Panel and set out what the law says must be considered in making a decision about whether Ryan needed legal orders for his protection and support. Ryan was happy with the outcome of the hearing. IMPACTS: Ryan will get the support he needs from the Children’s Hearing System and local authority and does not have the disadvantage of charges that may go with him into his adult life and affect his life chances. Without legal advice Ryan might have accepted the charges without knowing this. Because of our outreach service and child centred approach Ryan had full understanding of his choices and time to think things over. He was confident in expressing his views and was able to take responsibility and engage with the decision making process.