Raise the Age? Children's Attitudes Towards the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility

Access Research Knowledge, Number 113, June 2017

4 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2018

See all articles by Siobhan McAlister

Siobhan McAlister

Queen's University Belfast

Nicola Carr

University of Nottingham - School of Sociology and Social Policy

Clare D. Dwyer

Queen's University Belfast

Katrina Lloyd

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work

Date Written: June 19, 2017

Abstract

The minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) is the age at which a child who commits an offence is considered to have attained the emotional, intellectual and mental maturity to understand their actions, can be formally charged and held responsible in a criminal procedure. Northern Ireland (along with England & Wales) has one of the lowest ages of criminal responsibility in Europe, with children being held responsible for their actions from the age of ten. This is out of line with other age markers, including the age of sexual consent (16), the age at which it is legal to drive a car (17) and the age at which a person is entitled to vote (18). At 10 the MACR in Northern Ireland is below the minimum recommended by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which considers that any limit below the age of 12 is not acceptable. The Committee has recommended an increase in the minimum age of criminal responsibility in each of its Concluding Observations on the UK’s compliance, in 1995, 2002, 2008 and 2016.

Keywords: Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility, Youth Justice

Suggested Citation

McAlister, Siobhan and Carr, Nicola and Dwyer, Clare D. and Lloyd, Katrina, Raise the Age? Children's Attitudes Towards the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (June 19, 2017). Access Research Knowledge, Number 113, June 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2988947

Siobhan McAlister

Queen's University Belfast ( email )

25 University Square
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Ireland

Nicola Carr (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham - School of Sociology and Social Policy ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/sociology/people/nicola.carr

Clare D. Dwyer

Queen's University Belfast ( email )

School of Law
Belfast BT7 1NN, BT7 1NN
Ireland

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofLaw/Staff/DrClareDwyer/

Katrina Lloyd

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work ( email )

25 University Square
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Ireland

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