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Age of criminal responsibility 01/05/2018 The age a young person can be held responsible for their actions in the eyes of the law is to be examined by Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee.

Holyrood Committee to consider age of criminal responsibility

The age a young person can be held responsible for their actions in the eyes of the law is to be examined by Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee.

Although Scotland’s current age of criminal responsibility, the lowest in Europe at eight years old, is set to be raised by the Scottish Government, the Committee is seeking views on the new proposals. The Committee is looking to hear from academics, people working in the criminal justice sector, victims of crime, and crucially young people and former young offenders. A toolkit for teachers and youth group leaders will be produced to help this to happen.

“The age you become responsible for your actions is fundamental to the criminal justice system and could have a major impact on a young person’s life,” said Committee Convener Christina McKelvie MSP. “Balancing the rights of young people, victims of crime and wider society means that there is a lot of important detail in this legislation. That’s why we want to hear from as many people as possible.”

The Committee is asking not only for views on raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12, as the Scottish Government has proposed. It also wants to look at:

  • the disclosure of offences committed by under-12s;
  • whether the new rules achieve an appropriate balance for victims; and
  • the suitability of police powers to deal with behaviour by under-12s.

The call for evidence can be found here.

 

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