Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP today welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 12.
Scottish Liberal Democrats have consistently campaigned to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 8 to 12, bringing it into line with the UN’s demands. The party’s attempts to change the law last year led the Scottish Government to commission an independent review, the recommendations of which they are now set to take forward.
Speaking after today’s ministerial statement, Mr McArthur said:
“After passing up opportunity after opportunity to change this outdated law, it is welcome that SNP ministers have finally listened to the pleas of campaigners and the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
“My predecessor as justice spokesperson, Alison McInnes, worked tirelessly on this issue and, while the details are still to be ironed out by Parliament, we are pleased to see the government at last moving to end this fundamental violation of children’s human rights.
Eight year olds should be treated as children, not criminals. The fact they can receive convictions which need to be declared for decades, or even the rest of their lives, is a national embarrassment.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats will work with the Scottish Government and others in order to protect vulnerable children and ensure that every child gets the best start in life.”