Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility Report Issued

A new report on the minimum age of criminal responsibility in Scotland is now available. The key recommendation is that the age of criminal responsibility should be raised from 8 to 12 years as soon as possible.

The Advisory Group was tasked by Scottish Ministers with considering the policy, legislative and procedural implications of raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 8 to 12 years.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has suggested that 12 years old should be regarded as the minimum internationally acceptable age of criminal responsibility. Scotland has been criticised for having an age of criminal responsibility which is the lowest in Europe.

As such, the Advisory Group approached an increase in the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old, not from the perspective of if it should happen, but rather how and when it should happen. The Advisory Group also concerned itself with how to deliver change in a sustainable, responsible manner.

Advisory Group members focused on 4 key areas, find out more here.

The report is accompanied by a comprehensive Children’s Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA). This CRWIA has helped ensure that the main report has a child-centred and child rights focussed approach.

  • Read the report of the Advisory Group on the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility here.
  • Download the Child Rights & Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) published on raising the age of criminal responsibility here.
  • Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility Advisory Group case studies can be found here.

You may also be interested in a new research report from SCRA which looks at the ‘Backgrounds and outcomes for children aged 8-11 years old who have been referred to the Children’s Reporter for Offending. This research highlights that for those 8-11 year olds being referred on offence grounds currently, the vast majority also have care and protection needs.

There are some useful international profiles, looking at how the age of criminal responsibility and youth justice services cater to children and young people in a range of other countries.

A Scottish Government consultation on whether to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 12 is now open until 10 June 2016.

 

Originally contained in Youth Link briefing 5th April 2016

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