Youth justice in the UK: children, young people and crime
Youth justice in the UK: children, young people and crime

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

8 Summary of Session 1

In this first session you have considered one issue – the age at which children should be considered criminally responsible – from a variety of perspectives. This first session offers an outline of the arguments you will encounter as you continue through the course. For example, you will later return to the issue of negative labelling raised in the video. You will consider how this might operate in relation to the wider structures of disadvantage and discrimination that children and young people experience – around crime, victimisation and a youth justice system that delivers different outcomes according to whether they are white, male, female or from a black and minority ethnic group.

You’ve also seen how different countries take different approaches to young people’s misbehaviour. The next session offers you a quick guide to the system in England and Wales, currently operating as a single jurisdiction in matters of crime and justice. The third session examines the issues in Scotland, and the fourth, Northern Ireland.

The main learning points of this first session are:

  • Establishing the best response to the crimes children may commit is a complicated issue.
  • The age of criminal responsibility in all the jurisdictions of the UK are among the lowest in Europe. The trend is upward because it is recognised that criminalising children at a young age can have lasting damaging consequences.
  • Contemporary scientific evidence about brain development reinforces the idea that children’s mental capacities are very different from adults.
  • Involving children in the operation of the criminal law is rarely straightforward.
  • Labelling children as criminal often has counter-productive effects.
  • Listening to children’s perspectives is important.

In the next session, you will explore the current youth justice system in England and Wales and learn about the way it is changing.

You can now go to Session 2 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371