Ombudsman says 10 too young to be criminalised
Published 21/07/2010 | 05:00
THE Ombudsman for Children has criticised laws which dictate young people can be judged responsible for murder, rape and aggravated sexual assault from the age of 10.
Emily Logan said she found it "astounding" that the age of criminal responsibility for most offences is 12, but lower for the most serious of crimes.
"What is highly questionable is that the more complex the crime the younger you are expected to comprehend your actions," she said in a speech to a meeting of the International Schools Psychology Association last night.
"Our acceptance of an age of criminal responsibility as young as 10 tells us a lot about how we view and relate to children as a society."
She said political expediency sometimes drives legislation and the State's legal and policy approach to young people had been "inconsistent". She said Ireland hadn't gone far enough to guarantee the rights of children.