From the 1st of July, 2013 the age of criminal responsibility has been reduced from 14 to 12 years in case of serious crimes (manslaughter, assault, robbery and despoilment) and if the child is able to assess the consequences of his/her actions, but no methodology has been defined to measure the “discretion capability” of the child.
International standards require that detention of children and young people in conflict with the law is a measure of last resort. However, alternatives to custody are vastly underdeveloped in Europe. Detention or ‘correctional centres’ continue to be the norm rather than the exception.
The majority of European countries provide informal ways of dealing with youth offending through diversionary measures, and by giving priority to alternative sanctions over deprivation of liberty.
Achieving quality care for children by comprehensive policies and actions and imoroving on current practice needs a comprehensive long term child welfare and protection strategy.
This 2-year international project is led by BAAF in the UK, with six partner agencies in four other European countries, and focuses on remand and intensive fostering as alternatives to custody for young offenders. Running from January 2013 to December 2014, the project is a co-financed programme under the EC’s ‘Daphne III’ child-friendly justice initiative.