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Youth commission dismiss bill over age
9:00am Thursday 12th December 2013 in News
HAMPSHIRE Youth Commission members have dismissed a bill to raise the age of criminal responsibility.
They met to discuss the bill to raise the age of criminal responsibility from ten years to 12 years, which has recently been through the second hearing at the House of Lords.
Instead they called for better cross-agency working and support to prevent crimes being committed by young people.
Members released a statement saying: “The subject of right and wrong is widely taught from a young age, and ten-year-olds are old enough to understand the difference between right and wrong.
“We recognise while children at the age of ten know the difference, at age 12 they are more mature with potentially more experience in making right and wrong choices.
“However, we feel that at the age of ten children are aware of their actions and, should they commit a crime, should face the consequences of their actions.
“We are concerned that by raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years, children younger than 12 years might take advantage and cause crime more than they would if the age of criminal responsibility remained at ten years.
“However, we feel that the psychological development of children can be quite varied, so children at the age of ten may not realise that they have committed a crime.
“This could be due to having a lower mental age, learning disabilities, dyslexia and such like, meaning the child may not have a full comprehension of how their actions affect the wider world.
“Therefore, while the age of criminal responsibility should remain at ten, it should be on a case-by-case basis in regards to the level of understanding of the consequences of certain actions.
“The Youth Commission feels this should be practised up to the age of 13.
“We feel the current law systems work well, but better cross-agency working and support would prevent more crimes being committed by young people.”
The Hampshire Youth Commission has 24 members between the age of 14 and 25 from various backgrounds.
The purpose of the commission is to make young people part of the solution to tackling crime.
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