Young offender

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A young offender is a young person who has been convicted or cautioned for a criminal offense. Criminal justice systems often deal with young offenders differently from adult offenders, but different countries apply the term 'young offender' to different age groups depending on the age of criminal responsibility in that country.

United Kingdom[edit]

The United Kingdom has three separate and distinct criminal justice systems: England & Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Young offenders are often dealt with by the Youth Offending Team.

In England & Wales the age of criminal responsibility is set at 10. Young offenders aged 10 to 17 (i.e. up to their eighteenth birthday) are classed as a juvenile offender. Between the ages of 18 and 21 (i.e. up to their twenty-first birthday) they are classed as young offenders. Offenders aged 21 and over are known as adult offenders.

In Scotland the age of criminal responsibility was formerly set at 8, one of the lowest ages of criminal responsibility in Europe. It has since been raised to 12 by the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010, which received Royal Assent on 6 August 2010.[1][2]

In Northern Ireland it is 10.

Northern Europe[edit]

In the Nordic countries, the age of criminal responsibility is set at 15.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Criminal age to be raised to 12". Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  2. ^ "Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010". Retrieved 8 February 2015. 

External links[edit]