How young is too young to be charged

with a crime in NZ?

If a 12-year-old is accused of killing someone in New Zealand, they will go to court.

Even if their childhood has been miserable, and one long punishment for no reason - if they're found guilty, they'll be punished again - even though neuro-scientific research says a person that age doesn't have the brain development to consider the consequences of what they're doing, are very strongly influenced by peer pressure and their sense of empathy hasn't fully evolved.

"These are children, some of whom are still in primary school," said Dr Enys Delmage, a consultant in Adolescent Forensic Psychiatry for the National Youth Forensic Unit.

"They really need protection rather than pursuing a criminal justice route for them ... it's really time New Zealand made that change."

Amnesty International today launches a campaign to raise the age of criminal responsibility, from 10 where it is now, immediately to 12, and then to 14, in line with UN recommendations and along the lines of where most other countries are heading.

Link to article: How young is too young to be charged with a crime in NZ? - NZ Herald


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