The Age of Criminal Responsibility?

16 May 2012

Associate Professor Thomas Crofts asks how do legal systems deal with the age-old question of the age of criminal responsibility?

In an article for The Conversation, Associate Professor Crofts writes that the age of criminal responsibility acts as the gateway to the criminal justice system.

"Most jurisdictions have this age barrier because it's widely understood children need sheltering from the criminal law consequences of their behaviour until they are developed enough to understand whether their behaviour is wrong."

He adds that in Australia, in particular in NSW, some are now calling for an increase in the minimum age level to 12.

"But this might not be the great leap forward that it appears to be if it means that the flexible age period (that is, the period where children cannot be prosecuted unless it's proven they can understand their actions) is abolished.

"This would take away protection for 12- and 13-year-olds, who may not be mature enough to understand the wrongfulness of their behaviour."

View the entire article - Age-old question: when should children be responsible for their crimes? - The Conversation

Contact: Greg Sherington

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