In my essay I am going to discuss the issues, ‘at what age should children be held criminally responsible’, and ‘what are children’s influences growing up’.
The minimum age that children are held criminally responsible is 10 years old in England, Wales and Ireland and only 8years old in Scotland. There have been many issues regarding this age limit and as it points out in Madge’s ‘Children In These Days’ (2006), it is interesting that children and adults tended to agree on the ages at which children should be held criminally responsible: both children and adults (86% in total) thought that the age of criminal responsibility should be above the current age of 10 years old. According to Morris (2009), statistics show about 2,900 under-18s were in custody in England and Wales in November. The figure has been stable for a few years but is twice the number locked up in the early 1990s and higher than in Europe.The argument here is, is this age limit of 10 years old too young for them to be ‘locked up’? Some people may argue that children have to wait until they are sixteen to leave school or marry, and have to wait until they are 18 to gamble or see films, so why should they at the age of 10 have to take responsibility for their actions? Many people think that this age is too young for example the former head of the Youth Justice Board, Professor Rod Morgan, has called for the age at which children can be locked up –the so-called age of criminal responsibility – to be raised, he explained that too many youngsters were dragged into courts and detained at too early an age. (Morris 2009). This all comes down to the decision whether or not a child at the age of 10 knows the difference between right and wrong. Doli incapax applies to children in criminal proceedings of ten to thirteen years of age: children in this age range are presumed not to know the difference between right and wrong and, therefore, to be incapable of committing a crime because they lack the...
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