Criminal Conduct and Children
Criminal conduct is any behaviour that can lead to the committing of a criminal offence. In the case of children and minors, this behaviour may be more likely to take on aspects of anti-social behaviour or property damage.
As children most of us were brought up to believe in justice, the law and also the difference between right and wrong. However in today's society the lines seem to have blurred and as a result there has been a considerable upturn in the sort of behaviour that constitutes criminal conduct. This behaviour includes:
- Joy Riding
- Racial Abuse
- Sexual Impropriety
- Causing an Affray
- Underage Drinking
This list is not an exhaustive one, as there are many other crimes and actions against people or property that can be considered to be criminal. However, we are interested in the criminal conduct of children and minors and therefore the aforementioned list covers quite a range of offences that children or minors are likely to find themselves capable of committing.
Is My Child a Criminal?If you child has been involved in any of the aforementioned acts of anti-social behaviour, they may well be considered by the police to have committed a criminal act and as such be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, if a child is under 10 years old, they are considered to be too young to be prosecuted.
What Happens if My Child Commits a Crime?If a child over 11 years old has committed a crime and has been detained by police, it is likely that they will be prosecuted by the police in the same manner as an adult. This is because the law considers anyone over the age of 11 to know the difference between right and wrong and therefore know that if they are committing a crime they are breaking the law.
If your child has been caught committing a criminal offence, or has been detained as a result of a suspicion that they were about to commit a crime, you will be called to your local police station where the nature of the offences will be discussed with you.
Criminal Offences and Behaviour OrdersIn some instances, depending on the nature of the offence, the police working in conjunction with the Youth Offending Team and the local authority may decide that prosecuting the offence through the courts is not a worthwhile option. However, if the police have had call to detain your child previously, and a behaviour order is already in place, they may strongly consider going for a criminal conviction which will involve a hearing before a magistrate, a criminal record and potential a custodial sentence.
However, if it is a first time offence and there are sufficient grounds to believe no further offences will be committed, the child in question may be asked to voluntarily enter into an Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC). This informal agreement – which is also signed by the parent – is a commitment to cease any anti-social behaviour and bide by the conditions of the agreement. Likewise, a parent may also be asked to enter into such an agreement, especially if there is doubt as to how the parents govern their children's activity.