Scotland to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 8 years old to 12 years old

Childcare & Early Years Minister Mark McDonald has announced plans to bring forward a bill to increase the minimum age of criminal responsibility in Scotland from eight to 12 in time for Scotland’s Year of Young People in 2018.

In a previous consultation on the issue, 95% of respondents welcomed this increase.

Scotland currently has the lowest minimum age of criminal responsibility in Europe and the move will bring the country in line with international standards.  In 2010, the age of criminal prosecution was raised to 12 and by now raising the age of criminal responsibility, children will no longer have consequences such as a criminal record, for offences that took place while they were only a child.

The move has been widely welcomed by children’s organisations and others, and implements a key finding of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

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Image credit Saroj Regmi CC by 2.0

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