JOHANNESBURG – What happens to children under the age of 18-years when they commit crimes?
A number of shootings, stabbings and alleged rapes have taken place in schools recently.
To protect the rights of children once arrested, they are placed into three categories.
Children under the age of 10-years are not criminally liable.
Those aged 10 to 14-years are presumed not criminally liable unless proven otherwise.
Children from 14 to 18-years are criminally liable and can be prosecuted in normal courts.
Legal Aid South Africa said these age classifications, which state when children may receive special treatment, are accepted worldwide.
For example, detention should be a last resort and only for the shortest time possible.
Sentencing options include counselling, fines or correctional supervision or children are placed in youth care centres separately from adults, where the aim is to rehabilitate.
If a child turns 18 -years-old while still at the youth care centre they can be moved to a normal prison.