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Title: If you are 10, you go to prison: Children’s Understanding of the Age of Criminal Responsibility
Authors: Watkins, Dawn E.
Lai-Chong Law, E.
Barwick, Joanna
Kirk, Elee
First Published: 2016
Publisher: Queen's University Belfast, School of Law
Citation: Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, 2016, 67(3), pp. 311-26
Abstract: Under Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) , all child ren who are capable of forming their own view s ha ve the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the m . T hrough the use of innovative, participatory methods, the authors of this paper have gathered the views of over 600 children aged 8 - 11 years concerning the current age of criminal res ponsibility under English law. The aim of this article is to demonstrate what and how children think about the age of criminal responsibility; in the hope that children’s views, both individually and collectively, will both inform and influence debate on this significant issue. T hrough their analysis of children’s views , the authors demonstrate in this article that there exists for children a strong association between the notion of criminal responsibility and imprisonment. In light of this, the authors suggest that alongside the discussions that are taking place around the appropriate age for setting criminal responsibility, priority must also be given to the consideration of steps that can and should be taken to increas e children’s awareness of the English legal system ; to enhance their understanding of the criminal justice system and to improve their knowledge and understanding of children’s rights both in the context of wrong - doing, and more widely.
ISSN: 0029-3105
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License ( ), which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Law

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