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Offences committed by children

An evaluation of amendments to the Young Offenders (Special Provisions) Act

In July 2010, a number of amendments were made to the Young Offenders Act, the overall aim being for the police to investigate a greater proportion of criminal offences committed by children, and to do so more efficiently.

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Unabridged original, in Swedish: Brott begågna av barn (2014:20)

In Sweden, individuals under the age of 15 are not criminally responsible and cannot therefore be convicted of criminal offences. In certain cases however, the police can investigate offences where the suspect is under the age of 15. The reasons that permit the initiation of this type of police investigation – commonly referred to as a Section 31 investigation – are regulated in Section 31 of the Swedish Young Offenders (Special Provisions) Act (1964:167).

The main aim of a Section 31 investigation is to clarify the child’s need for measures from the social services. The social services are always informed when a child is suspected of a criminal offence and they are the agency responsible for any actions taken on the part of society. In this report, the term “child” refers to individuals under the age of 15.

In July 2010, a number of amendments were made to the Young Offenders Act, the overall aim being for the police to investigate a greater proportion of criminal offences committed by children, and to do so more efficiently. The bill 7 proposing the new act argues that a greater number of police investigations would improve the likelihood of social services acquiring all the information they need in order to make their assessments. In very serious offences, there is also a more general interest in acquiring more detailed knowledge regarding how the offence was committed.

The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention has been instructed by the Swedish Government to evaluate these amendments to the law in order to ensure that they have achieved their stated aim.

© The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, 2014
Author: Nadja Bogestam

urn:nbn:se:bra-581

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