Cllr Rachel Woods has welcomed the publication of a consultation on the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility in Northern Ireland today by the Department of Justice.
The Green Party NI representative who sat on Stormont’s Justice Committee said, “Despite many missed opportunities in the last Assembly mandate, I welcome this move from the Department of Justice today to at least consult on this extremely important children's rights and youth justice issue. We have to stop criminalising children at 10 years old and raise the age.
Despite my attempts to legislate on this in the last mandate, the matter was blocked numerous times by other parties in the Assembly. The criminal justice system of a modern, progressive society should not categorise 10-year-olds as fully responsible for their actions in the same way that we do for adults. In 2016 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Northern Ireland should raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility in accordance with acceptable international standards.
“Our children and young people must be involved in policy-making that affects them so I hope to see meaningful engagement events conducted as part of this process. I would encourage everyone to fill out the consultation response which is available online at: Consultation on increasing the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility in NI | Department of Justice (justice-ni.gov.uk)”