The strictest country in Europe?

13th February 1998 at 00:00
It is highly unlikely the scenes witnessed at the Old Bailey would have been repeated anywhere else in Europe as, at 10, England has one of the lowest ages of criminal responsibility. Only Scotland puts the age lower - at 8 - but there special children's panels deal with child crime. In Holland and Turkey the age is 12, in France it is 13, and in Belgium and Luxembourg 18. Germany, Austria and Italy have settled on 14, the Scandinavians on 15,and Spain and Portugal on 16.

Most European countries believe the way in which Britain deals with serious juvenile offences as extreme. Britain now imprisons a higher percentage of its juvenile population than anywhere else in Europe.

Also in most European countries unders 14s who commit offences do not appear in criminal courts but in family courts.

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