Together’s Director gives evidence on the Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill

Date: 21st September 2018
Category: Age of criminal responsibility


Juliet Harris, Director of Together, presented evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee on Thursday 20th September, on stage one of the Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill.

As outlined in our consultation response to the Bill last year, Juliet reiterated Together’s view that the current proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility to age 12 should be amended to age 14 at the absolute minimum. Such an amendment would better uphold children and young people’s human rights and align with the age of criminal responsibility standards set by other countries across Europe.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has been consistently critical of the current age of criminal responsibility in Scotland, which is currently eight years of age. The Committee calls on States to increase their minimum age of criminal responsibility to an “internationally acceptable level” with 12 years of age being the absolute minimum age that will be considered acceptable.  However, the Committee encourages states to raise the age higher, with three members noting that a minimum age of 14 or 16 is “commendable”.

Those also presenting evidence at the session were Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal, Head of Public Protection, and Sergeant James Devoy, Police Scotland; and Kate Rocks, Chief Social Work Officer at East Renfrewshire Council.