No plans to review the age of criminal responsibility
The government has no plans to review the age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales, a justice minister has confirmed.
Lord McNally, Lib Dem minister for justice, speaking in the House of Lords said the government is more concerned with addressing the needs of younger children coming into contact with the courts than involving them in the criminal justice system.
At 10, the age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is among the lowest in Europe.
McNally outlined the government’s view on the issue in response to a question by crossbench peer the Earl of Listowel.
He had asked the government whether it would review the age in light of a recent report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children, which expressed concerns about the current age of criminal responsibility in its annual report.
Lord McNally said: “We are among the lower end of ages of criminal responsibility and the department and all the authorities concerned do look at international comparisons and procedures.
“For the moment what we hold firm to is that although the age of criminal responsibility is 10 years, the thrust of our policy when children come into the care of authorities is not to fit them into the criminal justice system, but apply as vigorously and as holistically as possible, responses to their needs to try to address their offending,” he said.