Punishing children: A survey of criminal responsibility and approaches across Europe
This survey of youth justice systems in Europe emphasises the extent to which England and Wales is divorced from our neighbours in the way we see children and the way we treat them when they do something wrong. The majority of European countries see a child committing crime as a welfare matter, an occasion to energise the various child welfare agencies to examine what is causing the child’s offending behaviour and to address those causes – be it educational difficulties, mental health needs or histories of abuse and neglect. By comparison, our system is engineered to respond primarily through punishment. Given the continuing degree to which
‘youth crime’ is seen as an issue of great public concern – for example, knife crime among inner city teenage boys – it is unclear what decades of a punitive system has achieved in making both children who offend and the public at large safe from crime.
This report gives a brief overview of age of criminal responsibility and criminal penalties across Europe, discusses international legal framework and looks at significant shifts trhoughout Europe.
2008, 19pp, ISBN 978-1-905994-10-6
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