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A young person is defined in the YCJA as someone who is 12 years or older but less than 18 years old. They then continue to be governed by the Act until they turn For over years, Canada has had a separate criminal justice system for young persons. The Youth Criminal Justice Act starts from the idea that young people should be held accountable for their actions, but they are still youth who make mistakes and should be given the opportunity to mature, learn from their mistakes, accept the consequences of their actions, and make amends.
Thus, they should be treated differently from adults who are expected to understand and be fully accountable for their actions. Most experts in child behaviour agree that before the age of 12, children are too young to fully understand all of the implications and results of their behaviour.
It would be unfair to allow the full weight of the justice system to fall on them. Many cultures around the world agree that an adult is a person who has passed his or her eighteenth birthday.
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In Canada, our laws stipulate that after the age of 18 and in some provinces, 19 individuals have the right to vote, enter into contracts and make valid wills, among other things. They are considered to be fully responsible for their actions, and must face the full legal consequences of those actions.
The YCJA begins by setting out a number of basic principles, the first one being that the youth criminal justice system in Canada is intended to protect the public by holding young people accountable through measures that are proportionate to the seriousness of their offence and their degree of responsibility, by promoting their rehabilitation and reintegration into the community, and by supporting the prevention of crime. Other key principles state that the criminal justice system for young people must:. The Act also talks about how the measures taken against a young person should be meaningful for the young person given his or her needs and the level of development.
Gender, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic differences must also be respected.
Introduction (YCJA) - Canadian Legal FAQs
This includes aboriginal young persons and young persons with special requirements. The YCJA states that special considerations apply with respect to proceedings involving young persons, and it also sets out some directions with regard to the involvement of parents and victims. In particular:.
These amendments focus on protecting society as a key goal of the youth justice system and provide options to deal with violent and repeat young offenders, including detaining young people who re-offend or who pose a risk to society. Outlines the role of parents: Parents have an important role -- they need to be informed about the justice process and are encouraged to support their child in addressing their offending behaviour. Parents cannot be held responsible for crimes committed by their children.
Parents are not held responsible for these costs if they can show the court that they exercised reasonable supervision over the youth and made reasonable efforts to prevent or discourage them from committing crimes. Offences and regulations are governed by the following federal and provincial legislation and regulation:.
Section 145 and 146 Criminal Justice Act 2003
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