Where can I find support, advice and information?

There are lots of different organisations that can provide support, advice and information around specific issues that relate to children and young people’s rights. We’ve listed some of them here.

Where can I find support to help me or my child raise an issue with an organisation?

You can find information about free, independent advocacy services in your area from the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance .

Where can I find free legal advice, representation and information?

Young people between the ages of 11 and 25 can get free, confidential advice on legal issues, 24 hours a day, from the Young Scot Law Line (tel. 0808 801 0801).

The Scottish Child Law Centre provides free legal advice, guidance and information about the law for and about children and young people.

Clan Childlaw provides free legal advice and representation for children and young people.

The Ethnic Minorities Law Centre provides legal advice and representation to individuals from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in Scotland.

Where can I find information about education law?

Govan Law Education Law Unit run a helpline giving information about education law in Scotland. They also provide representation in some education law legal cases.

Resolve: ASL is an independent mediation service which assists in resolving disputes about decisions regarding additional support for learning.

Where can I find out if a child or young person has been a victim of discrimination?

If you believe you may have been discriminated against the Equality Advisory Support Service provides advice and assistance on equality and human rights legislation and how it may relate to you.

Where can I find out about mental health services?

The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland gives advice about rights in relation to mental health care and treatment.

NHS Choices – Young People and Mental Health offers advice and information about a variety of mental health problems, as well as links to useful resources.

Breathing Space is a helpline staffed by trained advisors. They will listen and provide support and advice (tel. 0800 83 85 87).

Where can I find out how to access a child or young person’s personal information or raise a concern about how a public body is handling their information?

You can find information and advice about personal information and data protection from the Information Commissioner’s Office (Scotland).

Where can I find information and support for looked after and care experienced children and young people?

WhoCares?Scotland helps ensure looked after and care experienced children and young people’s voices are heard, offering advocacy support across most local authority areas.

Where can I find information and support for LGBT children and young people?

The LGBT Youth Scotland website has advice, information and resources for young people, parents and carers and professionals. There’s a chat line, too (tel. 0131 555 3940).

Where can I find information about housing?

Shelter Scotland provide housing advice and information, including advice specifically for young people.

Where can I find support and information for children and young people with a disability?

Contact provides support and advice for families with disabled children.

Kindred specialises in supporting families with complex needs. They operate a helpline and provide practical information, advocacy support and guidance, as well as a counselling service for parents whose children are in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh whether on an in-patient or an out-patient basis.

Where can I find information about Disclosure/Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme?

You can find information about the different levels of disclosure and apply for a certificate here.

Where can I find information and support about domestic abused and forced marriage?

Scottish Women’s Aid offers confidential advice and information for both women and children and young people who are experiencing domestic abuse. Scottish Women’s Aid also has a Men’s Advice Line (tel. 0808 801 0327) 

Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline is a 24-hour resource offering support to anyone experiencing domestic abuse as well as family members, friends, colleagues and professionals who support them (tel. 0800 027 1234).

If you wish to report a domestic abuse incident you can do so at your local police station or by using an online form. If the situation is urgent, telephone 101 and if it is an emergency, telephone 999.  

Where can I find information about online safety and abuse?

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection website has general information about online safety as well as information about how to make a report if you are a victim of online abuse or worried that it is happening to someone else.

The Thinkuknow website takes you straight to age-specific information for children and young people as well as information for parents/carers and those working with children and young people.

Where can I find information and support for young carers?

The Carers Trust provides information and advice and runs support schemes for young carers through local support schemes across Scotland.

Where can I find information and support for kinship carers?

Citizen’s Advice Bureau Scotland provides comprehensive information on their website and advice in their offices or on the free confidential Kinship Care helpline (tel. 0808 800 0006).

Children1st also operate a kinship care service and helpline (tel. 08000 28 22 33).

Where can I find information and support on immigration and asylum?

Citizen’s Advice Scotland are registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) to give advice and assistance.

The OISC website lists the Citizen’s Advice Scotland offices on their adviser finder webpages, along with other organisations and agencies (although some of these do charge fees).

You can filter the search by location, as well as the specific type of advice you are looking for and whether to include those who charge fees.

The Scottish Refugee Council also offers advice, information and support to refugees and asylum seekers across Scotland.

If you would like to have legal advice or representation, the Law Society of Scotland has a ‘ find a solicitor’ function on their webpage. You can filter your search by area and area of law.

IAST is a specialist Edinburgh City Council service which assists and advises individuals who have immigration related and ‘no recourse to public funds’ issues.

This includes asylum seekers, victims of human trafficking, foreign nationals who are victims of domestic violence, some EU nationals, visa overstayers, and other people subject to immigration control.

In addition, IAST undertakes transitional integration work with people who have been granted refugee status or other forms of Leave to Remain and responds to general inquiries about EU nationals. They can also assist with some applications to the Home Office.

Where can I find information if you are worried your child may be taken out of the country without your permission?

Reunite International assist and advise both in cases of international abduction, but also help parents who fear their children may be abducted. The website also has a list of family lawyers who specialise in child abduction and an abduction prevention guide.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office also has information available online.

Where can I find information and support for children and young people about bullying?

Respect Me has information and resources both for parents and for children and young people, including options for responding to bullying.

The Anti-bullying Network also has a useful interactive section for young people and advice and information for parents and families.

Where can I find information about Children’s Hearings?

For information about the Children’s Panel – including specific information for both children and young people, have a look at the Children’s Hearings Scotland website.

You can also find information about hearings, resources for children and young people and information on the rights of children and young people attending Children’s Hearings, on the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration website.

Where can I find mediation and counselling for families?

Relationship Scotland and the Scottish Mediation Service both offer family mediation services. Relationship Scotland also operate contact centres across the country.

Where can I find support for families?

Parenting Across Scotland , Action for Children and Children1st all offer support services for families, as well as advice and support for parents and children online. Parenting Across Scotland also has a very useful directory of helplines .

One Parent Families Scotland focuses on advice and information for single parents.

Turn2Us gives information about benefits, grants and support services for families suffering financial hardship.