This petition urges the Ministry of Justice to reconsider its refusal to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 years old to at least 12 years of age in light of emerging neurological evidence.
Why is this important?
The age of criminal responsibility in England is one the lowest in Europe, and the statistics show that we are in danger of criminalising too many children and young people. The age of criminal responsibility needs to be reviewed in light of the standards set by the UN Convention and these international comparisons.
Young children are simply not capable of the sophisticated mental reasoning required to be held fully responsible for criminal actions, and we need to take a far more "welfare based" approach in dealing with young people who commit serious crimes.
Furthermore, there is concern among neuroscientists in this field that the age of criminal responsibility in the UK is unreasonably low given the emerging understanding of how slowly the brains of children mature, and the evidence of individual differences suggests that an arbitrary cut-off age may not be justifiable.