Social enquiry and other reports to the Courts

Reports are requested by the Courts to provide information to assist them to make decisions on sentencing. Social Enquiry Reports include an analysis of offending behaviour, risk assessment, background information and an assessment of suitability for community based sentences e.g. Probation, Community Service, Drug Treatment and Testing Orders, Supervised Release Orders etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

A social enquiry report will be prepared for all young offenders under the age of 21, all adult offenders who may be sentenced to custody for the first time and any other case as the sentencer may determine. Social Enquiry Reports are intended as an aid to sentencing. The information, assessment, and advice contained in a report will be one of a number of sources of information and opinion, which the Court takes into account when deciding how to deal with your offence(s). Your social enquiry report will provide the Court with information about your circumstances and personality, and any factors which may be linked to your offending behaviour.

The social enquiry report that the Social Worker will prepare is not a confidential document but there are issues about confidentiality, which must be taken into account during its preparation. Any information contained in a report may be made public during the Court Hearing. Comment may be made on it by the Sheriff or Justice, the Fiscal (though this is seldom done) and your defence lawyer, however, you can instruct your lawyer not to refer to specific items.

The social enquiry report is used to help inform people involved in sentencing, and can also be used during appeal against sentence, during consideration for parole, or as part of prison records.

Third parties, including members of your family, acquaintances and employers may be contacted by the Social Worker, with your permission, where it is considered necessary for the preparation of the report.

The Criminal Justice Social Work team.

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