The government’s official aim is to encourage more consultations, co-operation and co-ordination between the social services and the juvenile justice system in order to bring about a common strategy that ensures their public responsibility for young offenders has been fulfilled. This implies that the social welfare system should correspond with the criminal justice system both in judging the severity of the crime and in imposing the sentence. There are also legal, linguistic and other cultural differences (Barberet 2001). The Guardian view on the age of criminal responsibility: raise it now. China has lowered the age of criminal responsibility for some serious crimes from 14 to 12, as it looks to combat juvenile crime committed by children. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 7. Bramstång, G. (1964) Förutsättningar för barnavårdsnämnds ingripande mot asocial ungdom. In comparison the age of criminal responsibility is 14 in Germany, 15 in Sweden, 16 in Portugal and 18 in Luxembourg. Girls, Women and Crime. China has lowered the age of criminal responsibility to 12 from 14 for some serious crimes as it cracks down on a rise in juvenile crimes. endobj Special provisions are laid out in the Young Offenders Act (1964) for crimes committed by those under 21 years. Garland, D. (1991) Punishment and Modern Society. The extent of youth crime is difficult to measure. Social work plans therefore have to combine responses to welfare need with judgements about appropriate sanctions for the crime. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Protection of the child – protection of society. The age of criminal responsibility is relatively high in Sweden compared with other countries in Europe where the age of responsibility varies between 7 and 18 years (Jareborg and Zila 2000). After exploring the differences between young and adult offenders which underlie the welfare/justice clash, the project presents an in-depth investigation of the Swedish and the German juvenile criminal justice systems. among lawyers, criminologists and social workers in Sweden has for a long time been concerned with divergent approaches of the social welfare and justice systems. As King and Piper (1995) describe it, the welfare and justice perspectives have significance for everyone involved in the decision-making that concerns children. In Sweden, the MACR is 15 and there is no juvenile court. If the court regards the intervention as insufficiently severe, it can combine this measure with a fine or with youth service. (1998) ‘Barns rätt att komma till tals – ökat inflytande för barn eller vuxna?’ [Children’s Right to be Heard – Greater Influence for Children or for Adults?] The changes are mainly driven by ideology and make little difference to the behaviour of young offenders. All reactions to a crime must be grounded in law and it is the prosecutor’s task to substantiate the criminal charge before a court of law (Wennberg 2000). The swings of the pendulum between different values and strategies used by the social services authorities and the justice systems – care, rehabilitation or sanctions – make an interesting study, but the consequences for young offenders are not easy to discern. In Scotland, the age is currently eight, but legislation is being passed to raise it to 12. This has been explained as partly due to changes in the types of crime committed by young people but also as a result of a policy shift towards greater use of institutions (SOU 2004:122). It first became legally possible in 1902 to replace punishment for a crime by treatment provided by the social services authorities (Kumlien 1997). Jareborg, N. and Zila, J. Stockholm: Norstedts Juridik AB. If guilt has not clearly been proven, how can the report reflect the severity of the crime? Age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales 'too low' says watchdog. A person should not be imprisoned before 21 years of age. Criminal responsibility starts at 14 in Germany, 15 in Sweden, 16 in Portugal and 18 in Luxembourg, ... “The current age of criminal responsibility at ten is too young. The age of criminal responsibility in all Australian states and territories is 10, well below the ... Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, among others, children under 14 years old (and in some cases even older) cannot be arrested, charged with a crime or sent to youth detention centres.28 No other country in the EU criminalises such young children, with the age of criminal responsibility set at 14 in Germany, 15 in Sweden, 16 in Portugal and 18 in Luxembourg. In Sweden, studies on self-reported crime show no increase in juvenile crime since the 1970s (SOU 2004:122). In this chapter we give an overview of the youth justice system in Sweden, where different sets of legal rules are applied for persons under 15 years of age, between 15 and 17 years of age, and between 18 and 21 years of age. The police officer, as the crime investigator, has the option of not reporting the crime to a prosecutor if it is considered ‘less serious’ and if the sanction would probably be a fine. At the same time, the Criminal Code concepts of proportionality and consequences have been strengthened when deciding about interventions in relation to the crime rathert hen in relation to the child’s needs (Proposition 1997/98:96; SOU 2004:122). The amendment to criminal law, passed Saturday by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, declares that children between the ages of 12 and 14 will bear criminal … As no country is perfect in terms of its use of statistics, it is difficult to compare nations in terms of official statistics (Barberet 2001; Estrada 1999, 2001; Hofer 1998). The starting point should be discussion on raising it to 18, and we think the minimum age of criminal responsibility should be at least 16 in Scotland. 1, pp. John, M. (2003) Children’s Rights and Power, Charging up for a New Century. 19, No. Bramstång, G. (1985) Sociallagstiftningen. In the criminal justice system the principle of proportionality and the concept of culpability have taken on added importance as a result of reforms introduced in 1989 to criminal policy. Goldson, B. Children’s competence is also very much a question of their lack of power in society (John 2003). (2000) Straffrättens påföljdslära. From a welfare perspective it is important that both the parents and a social worker are informed at an early stage so that they can participate actively in the investigation and gain better knowledge of the process. The social services are, as mentioned above, obliged to submit a report concerning the young person to the prosecutor before a decision is taken as to whether or not to prosecute. The difficulty of reconciling these considerations is exacerbated by the timing of reports, as the report made by the social welfare officer is submitted to the prosecutor before the suspect’s guilt has been proved. The Ministry of Education and Research has responsibility for coordinating youth policy, ... Country Sheet on Youth Policy in Sweden. stream POSTNOTE 577 June 2018 Age of Criminal Responsibility Page 2 and intellectual immaturity.18,19 In 2007 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) declared an ACR of less than 12 years “not to be internationally acceptable”.20-22 Many countries have introduced or raised their ACRs Hofer, von H. (1998) Svårt att jämföra internationell statistik. In Sweden, where the social welfare system is deeply integrated in the criminal justice system, it is difficult to separate these considerations. Barberet, R. (2001) Youth crime in western Europe. This highlights the difficulties involved in correctly apprehending what are the responsibilities of the social services system when dealing with young offenders. In S. White (ed) Handbook of Youth and Justice. The age of criminal responsibility is the age at which a person can be punished for an act that the law deems to be a criminal offence. Age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales 'too low' says watchdog. The issue of whether to lower the criminal age of responsibility came to the fore after a case last year in which a 13-year-old boy confessed to police that he had killed a 10-year-old girl. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 23–42. <>>> There are very strong restrictions on taking a child between 15 and 17 years of age into custody during a criminal investigation (Provision Act, Section 23). [Commentary on The Social Welfare Legislation]. Raising the age in Australia has been hotly debated for years. The literature on juvenile justice is largely concerned with offenders, but young people come to the attention of the justice system also as victims. Stockholm: Norstedts tryckeri AB. In England and Wales and Northern Ireland the age of responsibility is 10 years, and in the … Stockholm: Norstedts. Generally, when referring to the social services in this connection, it is mostly in terms of voluntary and care-orientated interventions, but recent changes in the criminal justice system have imposed new duties on social welfare authorities to provide ‘appropriate sanctions’ to handle youth offenders in a credible way (Proposition 1997/98:96; SOU 2004:122). The age of criminal responsibility there is officially eight, but government rules say children under 12 will not be prosecuted. The minimum time juveniles may serve in closed care is 14 days, and the maximum four years. However the local social services boards will still have the main responsibility for young offenders (Proposition 1997/98:96; SOU 2004:122). Glerup Lund. There are five sanctions that can be imposed for young offenders who have been proved guilty: These represent a hierarchy, with fines expected to cover the least serious offences, while probation and conditional sentences are seen as alternatives to custody. There is an apparent risk that interventions are generated from the crime rather than from the needs of the child. There are many contradictions in the reasoning behind the setting of different age limits and the determination of children’s competence and maturity (e.g. There are, however, special rules concerning waiving prosecution and other procedural matters (see II. Some special policies apply to young defendants, including waivers of prosecution, restrictions on prison sentences, and handing over offenders to the local social welfare committee. Children under a certain age are presumed not to have sufficient knowledge and maturity to bear criminal responsibility. In other European countries, the age is significantly higher – at 14 in Germany, 15 in Sweden and 16 in Portugal. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. The Compulsory Care Act can be applied because of a young person’s criminal behaviour but also because of drug abuse and other situations that place the child’s health and development at serious risk. Proposition 2000/01:80 Ny socialtjänstlag [Governement Bill: A New Social Services Act]. Proposition 1987/88:120 Om ändring i brottsbalken, straffmätning och påföljdsval m.m. Switzerland. When the investigation has been concluded the prosecutor must choose between three types of decision: The first type of decision may occur if the crime is considered less serious and the juvenile has confessed. The age of criminal responsibility is the age below which a child is deemed incapable of having committed a criminal offence. Studier kring 1902 års uppfostringslagar. The child should be asked about his or her attitude towards the parents being present at the child’s hearing, although there must be a very strong reason not to allow them to be present. On the other end of the scale, many countries set the age between 12 and 14 and Sweden … Prosecution applies when the crime is more severe or the juvenile denies responsibility for it (Provision Act, Sections 15–17). The age of criminal responsibility is the age at which a person can be punished for an act that the law deems to be a criminal offence. Since 1999 this principle has been applied to a greater extent in the youth justice system as well, with the aim of bringing sanctions towards young people who offend more in line with the justice system for adults (Proposition 1997/98:96; SOU 2004:122). If the case goes to trial, the child has the right to a lawyer. Lindström, P. (1998) ‘Fler åtalade unga lagöverträdare’ [More Prosecuted Juvenile Delinquents]. [Government Bill: Reforms in the Criminal Code, Sentencing and Sanctions]. In consequence, the number of unsolved shoplifting cases has increased in the last ten years (Lindström 1998). The goal in both the Social Services Act 1998 and in the Compulsory Care Act 2003 is to provide protection, help and support for abused or neglected children as well as children with criminal behaviour and other social problems (Proposition 2000/01:80; Proposition 2002/03:53). Offenders under age twenty are dealt with in regular criminal courts. This results in confusion for the children as well as social services as to the balance of care functions and punishment embodied in the institutional practices (Tärnfalk 2001). Today the age has been lowered to 18, but special circumstances still apply … Kumlien, M. (1997) Uppfostran och Straff. 4 0 obj Sweden. Variable competence is an idea towards which the varied legal treatment of children might aspire (Minow 1986). BRÅ (2000b) Sveriges officiella brottsstatistik. However, there is legislation for young people under 21 involved in offending. However, the changes can distance juveniles in trouble from ordinary child and family policy and social work, and separate them from the welfare domain. Garland, D. (2001) The Culture of Control. However, most cases remain unsolved because of a lack of investigative resources. [Government Bill: Strengthening the Protection for Exposed Children]. In Norway, the age of criminal responsibility is 15. that the juvenile criminal justice system has to deal with (the “welfare/ justice clash”) in Sweden and Germany. It is 10 in England and Wales, 14 in Germany and Japan, and in 33 states of the US there is no minimum age at all. Proposition 2002/03:53 Stärkt skydd för barn i utsatta situationer m.m. [Child Justice Act 2015, Section 5.] This means that the social worker has to suggest a plan for the young person based on an assessment of her/his situation and needs before it is decided if he or she is guilty of the crime. Stockholm: Norstedts. 1 0 obj Sage Publications. It is the youngest age of criminality in all of Europe. (2001) Juvenile crime victims in the justice system. From a Swedish perspective, social services interventions can mean both voluntary (consensual) and coercive interventions/sanctions, and justice can mean both social and legal justice. Criminal Responsibility. The average age of criminal responsibility in Scandinavia is 15. Criminal responsibility starts at 14 in Germany, 15 in Sweden, 16 in Portugal and 18 in Luxembourg, The Guardian reports. [Criminal Code, Ch. Criminal Responsibility. below), and concerning sentencing for juveniles. Currently, the age of criminal liability in China is 16, but teenagers aged 14 to 16 can be charged and punished as criminals for serious crimes including intentional homicide, rape and robbery. The changes to the age of criminal responsibility in England over Minow, M. (1986) ‘Rights for the Next Generation: A Feminist Approach to Children’s Rights.’ Harvard Women’s Law Journal 9, 1, 1–23. A Study in Social Theory. Rydelius, J. Sarnecki and K. Söderholm Carpelan (eds) Vård av ungdomar med sociala problem (Treatment and Care of Youth with Social Problems). Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility Article 40 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) requires signatory states to: seek to promote the establishment of laws, procedures, authorities and institutions specifically The implication is that the social workers’ interventions should be in proportion to the culpability of the crime (BRÅ 2002). Nordisk Tidskrift for Kriminalvidenskap 2. ... Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland: 15. It seems as if both the ideology, policy and practice is less interested in supporting children than accusing them, although this view is fundamentally against the principles on children in welfare and child protection legislation, and in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Goldson 2000; Levin 1996; Muncie 1999; Proposition 1997/98:96). 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