the The , Indigenous Indigenous. There are very strong restrictions on taking a child between 15 and 17 years of age into custody during a criminal investigation (Provision Act, Section 23). There is a long-standing principle, though, in the Swedish model whereby the courts are generally expected to surrender offenders between 15 and 17 years of age to the social services system. Hofer, von H. (1998) Svårt att jämföra internationell statistik. It seems more reasonable to interpret children’s competence according to their life conditions in that, for children as for adults, competence is a mutual question of how well one manages life. If guilt has not clearly been proven, how can the report reflect the severity of the crime? The minimum time juveniles may serve in closed care is 14 days, and the maximum four years. From a welfare perspective it is important that both the parents and a social worker are informed at an early stage so that they can participate actively in the investigation and gain better knowledge of the process. [Government Bill: Reforms in the Criminal Code, Sentencing and Sanctions]. In such situations the local social services board applies to the County Administrative Court to decide whether the conditions set out in the Compulsory Care Act have been fulfilled (Hollander 1985; Mattson 2002; Proposition 1989/90:28). A decision not to press charges may also be accompanied by the imposition of a fine and registration of the child for the offence. The preliminary investigation is an important element in both care and protection and the youth justice system (Proposition 1997/98:96; Clevesköld and Thunved 2001). under the social services, which retain the main responsibility for the young person and run the closed institutions according to the Enforcement of Custodial Youth Care Act 1998 (603). Stockholm: Norstedts. The goal in both the Social Services Act 1998 and in the Compulsory Care Act 2003 is to provide protection, help and support for abused or neglected children as well as children with criminal behaviour and other social problems (Proposition 2000/01:80; Proposition 2002/03:53). Ironically, youth custody was introduced partly due to Sweden’s ratification of the Child Convention with the aim of avoiding the imprisonment of children alongside adults. The age of criminal responsibility is relatively high in Sweden compared with other countries in Europe where the age of responsibility varies between 7 and 18 years (Jareborg and Zila 2000). They were produced within a set timeframe (October – November 2015) to assist the Scottish Government MACR Advisory Group in considering the policy, legislative and procedural implications of raising the MACR. In such situations the social welfare officer has the opportunity to intervene on the child’s behalf (Compulsory Care Act, Section 6). Some special policies apply to young defendants, including waivers of prosecution, restrictions on prison sentences, and handing over offenders to the local social welfare committee. A court considering any crime committed by a young person aged 15 and over can impose measures of special care instead of a criminal sentence (e.g. In D. Victor (ed) Varning för straff. This means that children under 10 can’t be arrested or … [Commentary on The Social Welfare Legislation]. Hollander, A. There are many contradictions in the reasoning behind the setting of different age limits and the determination of children’s competence and maturity (e.g. The report must provide concrete information about the plans for the young person (Proposition 1997/98:96; Provision Act, Section 11). among lawyers, criminologists and social workers in Sweden has for a long time been concerned with divergent approaches of the social welfare and justice systems. In other European countries, the age is significantly higher – at 14 in Germany, 15 in Sweden and 16 in Portugal. Betänkande av Ungdomsbrottsutredningen. White, S. (2001) Handbook of Youth Justice. The literature on juvenile justice is largely concerned with offenders, but young people come to the attention of the justice system also as victims. There are, however, special rules concerning waiving prosecution and other procedural matters (see II. Sweden 15 Turkey 12 The Anglophone offenders As can be seen from the comparative ages of criminal responsibility across Europe, the countries that make up the UK have the lowest ages of responsibility. Children in Charge 9. Stockholm: Nerenius & Santérus förlag. Nevertheless, while protecting society may be an effect, it is not itself the aim of child welfare legislation (Bramstång 1985; Proposition 1979/80:1; Clevesköld and Thunved 2001). Norway, Finland and Sweden have an age of criminal responsibility set at 15. The age of criminal responsibility in many European countries ranges between 14 and 16, but in England, Wales and Northern Ireland remains at 10. Clevesköld, L. and Thunved, A. [The Sentencing Doctrine in Criminal Justice]. Switzerland. Age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales 'too low' says watchdog. BRÅ (2000a) Påföljdssystemet för unga lagöverträdare [Crime Prevention Council, The Juvenile Justice System]. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 23–42. There are also legal, linguistic and other cultural differences (Barberet 2001). (2000) Pojkar som gått vilse. Varför våra söner blir våldsamma och hur vi kan rädda dem. Age of responsibility People in Scotland also have many legal responsibilities. endobj Advocates have pointed to Norway, Finland and Sweden, where the age of criminal responsibility is set at 15, and Brazil, Peru and Uruguay, where it is set at 18. Betänkande av Ungdomsbrottskommittén [The Swedish Government Official Report: Reaction to Juvenile Crime. There is an apparent risk that interventions are generated from the crime rather than from the needs of the child. The social services are, as mentioned above, obliged to submit a report concerning the young person to the prosecutor before a decision is taken as to whether or not to prosecute. In S. White (ed) Handbook of Youth and Justice. En Kommentar. Proposition 1999/00:137 Barn – här och nu. This view of children as being innocent and in need of protection is, however, of recent origin, which indicates that our understanding of children is historically and culturally relative (Hollander 1998). Table 1 The Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility: Some International Comparisons Country Age Country Age Austria 14 Spain 14 Belgium 18* Canada 12 Germany 14 Norway 15 Portugal 16 France 13 Sweden 15 Denmark 15 Australia 10 Ireland 12* and . Muncie, J. If guilt has not clearly been proven, how can the report reflect the severity of the crime? Chesney-Lind, M. (2001) Girls, violence and delinquency. The difficulty of reconciling these considerations is exacerbated by the timing of reports, as the report made by the social welfare officer is submitted to the prosecutor before the suspect’s guilt has been proved. Change, Evidence, Challenges: Youth Justice Developments in Scotland, The Scottish Children’s Hearings System: Thinking about Effectiveness, Assessing How Well Systems Work: The Example of Scottish Children’s Hearings, Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice in the USA: A Practice Perspective, The Relationship between Youth Justice and Child Welfare in England and Wales, Approaching Youth Crime through Welfare and Punishment: The Finnish Perspective, The Interface between Youth Justice and Child Protection in Ireland, Child Protection and the ‘Juvenile Secure Estate’ in England and Wales: Controversies, Complexities and Concerns, The Place of Lay Participation in Decision-making, Human Rights and Children’s Rights in the Scottish Children’s Hearing System, Juvenile Death Penalty in Islamic Countries: The Road to Abolition is Paved with Paradox, Children in Conflict with Law: The Child Offender, Arbitration of International Business Disputes, Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law, Health and Human Rights in a Changing World, he Handbook of Maritime Economics and Business, Information Doesn't Want to Be Free_ Laws for the Internet Age, International Contractual and Statutory Adjudication, International Maritime Conventions (Volume 3), International Sales Law A Guide to the CISG, Mandatory Reporting Laws and the Identification of Severe Child Abuse and Neglect, Research on Selected China's Legal Issues of E-Business, Serving the Rule of International Maritime Law, Stephen Cretney-Family Law in the Twentieth Century_ A History-Oxford University Press (2003), The Impact of Corruption on International Commercial Contracts, Theoretical and Empirical Insights into Child and Family Poverty, The Oxford History of the Laws of England, The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law, Trade Policy between Law Diplomacy and Scholarship. Nordiskt Sosialt Arbeid 4, 194–201. 15 Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greece 16 Portugal Source: AIHW, Youth justice in Australia 2017-18 The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child maintains that ‘a minimum age of criminal responsibility under the age of 14 years is considered…not to be internationally acceptable’.12 The changes to the age of criminal responsibility in England over From the government’s perspective, this sentence of surrender to special care challenges the social services authorities on the one hand, and the prosecutors and courts on the other, to collaborate in ways that meet the young person’s welfare needs while also addressing the offence with an element of punishment or reparation (SOU 2004:122). The gap between the minimum age of prosecution and the minimum age of criminal liability means that criminal offences committed between the age of 8 and 12 may be included on a child's criminal record, though a prosecution may not take place. Since then there has been a recurrent conflict between proponents of welfare-orientated and formal justice-orientated approaches to reducing youth crime (Bramstång 1964; Levin 1996; SOU 1993:35). This is rarely the main cause of the justice system’s involvement with youth, however (Finkelhore, Pascall and Hashima 2001). Jareborg, N. and Zila, J. Om vådan av den nyttiga straffrätten [Beware of Punishment. [Conditions for the Child Welfare Board to Intervene in the Case of Delinquent Youth]. The child cannot stop a social worker being present at the investigation, as he/she is obliged, by law, to be there (Provision Act, Section 5). In Sweden, where the social welfare system is deeply integrated in the criminal justice system, it is difficult to separate these considerations. This results in confusion for the children as well as social services as to the balance of care functions and punishment embodied in the institutional practices (Tärnfalk 2001). Lundström,T. As in many other western welfare states, the trend has been away from the welfare approach and towards more control, more punishment and the notion of ‘just deserts’ (Garland 1991, 2001; Goldson 2000; Littlechild 1997). The average age of criminal responsibility in Scandinavia is 15. The most common types of crime committed by boys in Sweden are pilfering, criminal damage, car theft, burglary, physical assault and minor thefts such as shoplifting. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. For girls the most common crimes are shoplifting and theft. This became evident from a recent study on how prosecutors and judges perceive the option of surrendering young offenders to special care by the social services. British Journal of Criminology 41, © Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (ISTD), 639–655. This decision can be made only if the social authorities have submitted a written report to the prosecutor or the court describing what interventions will be carried out if the young person is placed in their care. Apropå nr 1. Actual and proposed reforms during the last decade have aggravated the conflict between dealing with young people who commit crimes as ‘children in need’ or as ‘young offenders’. The issue of whether to lower the criminal age of responsibility came to the fore after a case last year in which a 13-year-old boy confessed to police that he had killed a 10-year-old girl. The Crime Prevention Council, National Board of Health and Welfare, and the National Board of Institutional Care. Estrada, F. (1999) Juvenile Crime Trends in Post-war Europe. In the Australian Capital Territory, the Criminal Code 2002 Div 2.3.1 now deals with the criminal responsibility of children. (2000) Straffrättens påföljdslära. The age of criminal responsibility in many European countries ranges between 14 and 16, but in England, Wales and Northern Ireland remains at 10. fine, probation, custody). All cases of crime by young people aged 15 years and over are prosecuted in the same criminal courts used for adults, in a similar legal process. Minow, M. (1986) ‘Rights for the Next Generation: A Feminist Approach to Children’s Rights.’ Harvard Women’s Law Journal 9, 1, 1–23. In Sweden, children under 15 years of age are not subject to legal sanctions (CC 1:6). Levin, C. (1996) Barnen mellan straff och behandling [Children between correction and care]. POSTNOTE 577 June 2018 Age of Criminal Responsibility Page 2 and intellectual immaturity.18,19 In 2007 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) declared an ACR of less than 12 years “not to be internationally acceptable”.20-22 Many countries have introduced or raised their ACRs Wennberg, S. (2000) Introduktion till straffrätten, Sjätte upplagan. Our main focus is the 15–17 age group, which has received most attention in recent national strategies and legislation. Stockholm: Aktuell Juridik Förlag. Antologi/Kommittén Välfärdsbokslut, SOU 2001:52 (Official Report). China has lowered the age of criminal responsibility for some serious crimes from 14 to 12, as it looks to combat juvenile crime committed by children. And we need to reflect our progressive commitment in legislative change, with a much higher age of criminal responsibility. Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention: Vol. Youth criminality is problematic for many reasons. (2001) Juvenile crime victims in the justice system. Offenders under age twenty are dealt with in regular criminal courts. Since 1999 this principle has been applied to a greater extent in the youth justice system as well, with the aim of bringing sanctions towards young people who offend more in line with the justice system for adults (Proposition 1997/98:96; SOU 2004:122). The majority of both prosecutors and judges assumed that, in the statements submitted by social workers to the prosecutor, due regard had been paid to the principles of proportionality and culpability in the planning of interventions for young people prosecuted for criminal offences. Youth custody was introduced in 1999 for young people between 15 and 17 years of age. The Guardian view on the age of criminal responsibility: raise it now. [Upbringing and Punishment. After exploring the differences between young and adult offenders which underlie the welfare/justice clash, the project presents an in-depth investigation of the Swedish and the German juvenile criminal justice systems. Trends, Media Attention and Societal Response. Sweden. Garland, D. (1991) Punishment and Modern Society. Criminal Responsibility. Nordisk Tidskrift for Kriminalvidenskap 2. From a Swedish perspective, social services interventions can mean both voluntary (consensual) and coercive interventions/sanctions, and justice can mean both social and legal justice. The youth justice system encompasses a broad range of perspectives on both welfare and justice, and these vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. John, M. (2003) Children’s Rights and Power, Charging up for a New Century. The prosecutor has a duty to complete the criminal investigation within six weeks, and sooner if possible. By contrast the UN Convention (Article 3) and the principle of the best interest of the child are of major importance for the social welfare system in Sweden in that this Article was implemented into the Social Services Act in 1998 and in the Compulsory Care of Young Persons Act in 2003 (Proposition 1996/97:124; Proposition 2002/03:53). (1997) ‘Young Offenders, Punitive Policies and the Rights of Children.’ Critical Social Policy. Garland, D. (2001) The Culture of Control. [Crime Prevention Council, Official Crime Statistics of Sweden]. Provisions on other offences are found in specific acts and laws. Concerning very serious crimes it is possible to imprison a person who … The intentions of the legislation introduced then were to change the earlier emphasis on repression and the protection of society that had earlier dominated child welfare legislation concerning young offenders (Proposition 1979/80:1). Social work plans therefore have to combine responses to welfare need with judgements about appropriate sanctions for the crime. Proposition 1962:10 Om brottsbalkens införande [Government Bill: The New Criminal Code in Sweden]. Aldershot: Arena. Stockholm: Norstedts tryckeri AB. stream Offenders under age twenty are dealt with in regular criminal courts. Protection of the child – protection of society. A major dilemma is that this form of closed institutional care is also a form of treatment/sanction within the social services system (Compulsory Care Act, Section 12). In the 1999 reform, youth custody was made equivalent to imprisonment and is thus considered an equally strong punishment (Proposition 1997/98:96). The age of criminal responsibility for minors varies around the world. The police officer, as the crime investigator, has the option of not reporting the crime to a prosecutor if it is considered ‘less serious’ and if the sanction would probably be a fine. In Scotland, the age is currently eight, but legislation is being passed to raise it to 12. If the investigation is complicated because of the severe nature of the crime, or if there are many suspects or different crimes are involved, the time limit can be extended at the discretion of the chief prosecutor (Provision Act, Section 4). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. 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