Children with good childhood conditions, who thrive at school and who have good social relations to adults, seldom commit crime. The juvenile delinquency committed has a massive social imbalance. Therefore, our effort should focus on the social parameters, not the criminal.
The Joint Council for Child Issues advocates a society that does not send children to prison. We are pleased of the raising of the age of criminal responsibility from 14 to 15, but we still miss an increased focus on social initiatives towards those threatened by crime and with socioeconomically disadvantaged background. First of all, preventive measures are more efficient than cracking the whip. Secondly, it is more dignified for the individual. Education, upbringing, conflict handling and mentor measures are investments in the future – punishment and incarceration are not.
UN’s Convention of the Rights of the Child clarifies the special needs for protection and care of the child. The Joint Council for Child Issues worries deeply that children above the age of criminal responsibility may still be placed on remand for up to eight months and in isolation for four months. In addition, we are worried that a return to the upper limit of sentencing of 8 years did not follow the raise of the age of criminal responsibility as recommended by the UN Committee of the Rights of the Child
We recommend that children and young people be informed of the rules of use of force, rights, and possibilities of complaint in a language suitable for them. Additionally, we recommend that use of force (authorised and non-authorised) be reported through standard forms, and that degrading, humiliating, and similar abusive actions be reported as non-authorised use of force on standard forms.