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Thread: Should the age of criminal responsibility be raised, or even lowered?[ENDS 15/06/2011

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    Default Should the age of criminal responsibility be raised, or even lowered?[ENDS 15/06/2011







    Should the age of criminal responsibility be raised, or even lowered?



    If you are at a criminally responsible age, then you can be put on trial and charged with crimes. The age is currently 10 in England however this age varies greatly all over the world. In Scotland it's 8, in France it's 17, in some US states it's 6 whilst in others it's 18.

    Recently there have been calls for the age to be raised in the UK as it has one of the lowest criminal responsibility ages in Europe. While the age is currently 8 in Scotland, legislation is being passed to raise it up by four years.

    The argument for raising the age:

    By criminalising children, an already bad situation is made worse. If children are labeled as criminals early, will they grow up to become even worse criminals?

    Are children who commit crime just victims of circumstances for the mostpart? Can we blame them for how/where they were brought up?

    Children don't have the emotional maturity to be responsible for their actions to the law.


    The argument against raising the age:

    Children should be punished at an early age so as to learn the difference between right and wrong.

    Children should know the difference between right and wrong.

    By holding the child responsible possibly they could be rehabilitated. If children don't get punished early on, then will they continue to commit crime and become an even worse problem as they get older?



    So what do you think? Should the age be raised? Or possibly even lowered?

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    This Debate will end on the 15/06/2011. Once the debate has ended the top contributer to this debate will recieve a month of VIP in a colour of their choice



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    I think it's shocking that it is at such a low age, I don't think that it does anything for the child to be put through all of that however the argument could be that it would teach them a lesson but seriously a child at the age of 8 as a criminal are you having a laugh. As said above they should know the difference between right and wrong but maybe not into the depth that people expect. I think it all depends on the back ground of the child. I think it should be raised to maybe 13ish?

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    Well just look at the likes of Jon Venables. He abducted, tortured and murdered a 2 year old boy. Of course he should be held accountable for his actions. At 10 you know the differences between right and wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nar View Post
    I think it's shocking that it is at such a low age, I don't think that it does anything for the child to be put through all of that however the argument could be that it would teach them a lesson but seriously a child at the age of 8 as a criminal are you having a laugh. As said above they should know the difference between right and wrong but maybe not into the depth that people expect. I think it all depends on the back ground of the child. I think it should be raised to maybe 13ish?
    Jon Venables and Robert Thompson are a prime example of wicked children who did mean harm and who knew exactly what they were doing was wrong. If somebody, usually a left wing sociologist, wants to tell me that these two children (now men) didn't mean to commit the crime in which they did then I think that just shows the appalling positions some people get themselves in when trying to excuse the acts of the wicked.

    I find the age of 8 to 10 a fair age for somebody to be tried for criminal activities.

    As a firm supporter in the death penalty I would say the age for this aspect would be centred around 16 to 18.
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    I think it should be lowered as I think morally, children are more advanced than they are given credit for. I think Scotland's 8 is about right. Around my area, there are currently children around about 8 years old who smoke, do drugs like cannabis, wreck cars and basically just terrorise the neighbourhood because that's the behaviour of the older gang members that they look up to. I think the justice system, if done properly, can be just the thing that's needed to keep them from growing up into those older gang members.

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    Well, at the time of writing, I'm the first post...


    "Children should be punished at an early age so as to learn the difference between right and wrong."
    Parents should provide a good level of knowledge about the law system, and in that the thin line between right and wrong.
    Yes, often, the worst offenders are those who have been mistreated as children, or are orphans. This makes them exempt from the my previous point. If the offender in question is homeless, then it is expectable that they would commit a crime. In these cases, their imprisonment often won't affect a family, and rarely good friends.

    "By holding the child responsible possibly they could be rehabilitated. If children don't get punished early on, then will they continue to commit crime and become an even worse problem as they get older?"
    Rehabilitation doesn't always work. A rule or punishment is definitely not going to be 100% accurate, and sometimes this attempt can force a minor into (in the extreme cases) running away.
    If when they grow up, they continue to break the law, they can be swiftly put into prison for a substantial amount of time. Usually, this happens, regardless of whether they committed crimes at an early age.

    From my statements, it's probably obvious I don't want it to raise. That said, I really think it would be stupid to lower it, especially in the awful Scotland, 8 years old.
    In a country such as the before-mentioned France, I think the age needs to go down, because 17 is practically the age of adulthood. As a general rule, each country has a normal age of when children need to be raised with responsibility. In the UK this age is around 13. At this time, criminal responsibility should be introduced. Some countries could do with a raise, and some need it lowered by many years.

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    I think it should be anywhere between 8-10 if I'm honest. I knew what I was doing when I was 8, obviously eight year olds are a lot more immature than someone aged 20, but they still understand the difference between right and wrong, and if they don't they obviously have other issues which would need to be looked at.

    Quote Originally Posted by Narnat, View Post
    I think it's shocking that it is at such a low age, I don't think that it does anything for the child to be put through all of that however the argument could be that it would teach them a lesson but seriously a child at the age of 8 as a criminal are you having a laugh. As said above they should know the difference between right and wrong but maybe not into the depth that people expect. I think it all depends on the back ground of the child. I think it should be raised to maybe 13ish?

    Narnat, are you being serious?

    "CCTV evidence from the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle taken on 12 February 1993 showed Thompson and Venables casually observing children, apparently selecting a target" This clearly shows, both of these 10 year old's planned their actions out in advance, they knew what they were doing, and they should be treated the same as anyone else who performed these crimes. But, hey, since they were under the age of 13 at the time, they can't possibly be held responsible for their actions, can they?

    " As said above they should know the difference between right"

    If the child knows what they are doing, then they are accountable for their actions.
    Last edited by djclune; 02-06-2011 at 08:28 PM.



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    I only read the starting post so sorry for any repitition.

    My opinion is it should be raised to at least 16. Why? Well..

    16 is the legal age for sex + marriage + smoking. The law clearly sees 16 as an age of responsibility and decision awareness.

    At 16 you can also leave school. I think 16 is the age where you are mature enough to understand the law, why it's there and what will happen if you break it.
    At 10 you probably don't understand much other than a policeman coming and saying "don't be naughty or you'll be arrested".

    Why is 10 seen as the age of understanding and decision making when its breaking the law but 16 or 18 is when it is making the law?

    They should be all the same imo. And no I'm not saying 10 year olds should be allowed to marry, I think that if the law says we can make informed decisions on breaking the law at 10 but not marriage or sex until 16 - which it does - it contradicts itself. Yes were fully aware were breaking the law when we are 10 but we can't have sex until were 16 because were not informed enough to make that decision...right.

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    Why should we need to change it at all?

    Either keep it at 10 [in the case of the UK] or lower it TO 10 [in most other cases].

    Children who break the rules need to realise that what they are doing is wrong, people could easilly abuse the system by telling a 15 year old to carry out an act for money, the 15 year old would know it to be wrong but do it anyway. The child would then not be punished, this could easilly lead them down the wrong path even further with them thinking they can get away with anything.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Syphon View Post
    Why should we need to change it at all?

    Either keep it at 10 [in the case of the UK] or lower it TO 10 [in most other cases].

    Children who break the rules need to realise that what they are doing is wrong, people could easilly abuse the system by telling a 15 year old to carry out an act for money, the 15 year old would know it to be wrong but do it anyway. The child would then not be punished, this could easilly lead them down the wrong path even further with them thinking they can get away with anything.
    You can still be punished without being tried as a criminal.

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