The age of criminal responsibility is set to rise from eight to 12, under legislation introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

The new law will see Scotland lead the way in the UK, ensuring no child under 12 will receive a criminal record. It has been introduced following a consultation in which 95% of respondents supported an increase to 12 or above.

The Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Bill will mean:

  • fewer children entering the criminal justice system as they grow into adulthood
  • the age of criminal responsibility will be brought into line with the current minimum age of prosecution in Scotland
  • any information on harmful or concerning behaviour involving children under the age of 12 will no longer be disclosed automatically but will be subject to independent review on a case by case basis
  • harmful behaviour involving children under 12 will continue to be addressed with bespoke new measures introduced to ensure police can thoroughly investigate the most serious incidents
  • victims of harm will continue to receive appropriate support and information

Read more on the Scottish Government website.

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