8-year-old rapist too young for court

AN eight-year-old rapist is among 24 Suffolk children who could not be prosecuted last year because of their age, police have revealed.

Colin Adwent

AN eight-year-old rapist is among 24 Suffolk children who could not be prosecuted last year because of their age, police have revealed.

The boy, who was from the Suffolk Coastal area, carried out the attack on a girl under the age of 10. However, he was not charged because he is deemed by law as being too young to take criminal responsibility for what he did.

Another crime involving children that will never come to court due to the perpetrator's age was a sex assault by a boy aged eight, from the Ipswich area, on a female under 13.


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Among the other serious offences which took place were four incidents of racially aggravated harassment/alarm/distress by a five-year-old, two six-year-olds and an eight-year-old from the Waveney area.

Other crimes committed in 2008 by primary school-age children, included two incidents of common assault and battery by nine-year-olds in the Suffolk Coastal area and nine cases of criminal damage caused by seven, eight and nine year-olds.

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In total 18 separate crimes, carried out by two dozen children under 10, were revealed after a request to Suffolk Constabulary under the Freedom of Information Act.

Police were powerless to pursue them through the courts, however, officers stress they have strategies in place to deal with child criminals depending on their offending.

A Suffolk police spokesman said: “In circumstances where the suspected offender is below the age of criminal responsibility, the incident, like any other crime, is thoroughly investigated.

“However, it cannot be dealt with by way of prosecution. In these cases, there will be 'no further police action' - or no charge - against the offender because they are aged under 10 years old.

“Further action involving the offender is very much dependent on the incident and can be a complex issue. The incident will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to establish whether any further involvement by the police is required, to see whether the incident needs to be referred to other agencies, and to investigate whether the offence may have been committed as a result of issues such as bullying or child neglect.

“For lower level crimes, the police may speak to the child about their behaviour offering them 'words of advice'; the child may be required to take part in restorative justice, for instance, offering an apology to the victim; or perhaps an acceptable behaviour contract may be issued.

“For more serious incidents, the case will be referred to appropriate partner agencies, such as children and young people's services at the county council, for family intervention and support. Other areas will also be explored to see whether there are any other underlying causes for their behaviour; this will be done in partnership with other agencies.”

Offence Age Area

Racially Aggravated Harassment Alarm Distress 5 Waveney

Racially Aggravated Harassment Alarm Distress 6 Waveney

Racially Aggravated Harassment Alarm Distress 6 Waveney

Criminal Damage - Vehicle - Under �5,000 7 Waveney

Criminal Damage - Vehicle - Under �5,000 7 Forest Heath

Theft - other 7 Suffolk Coastal

Shoplifting 8 Waveney

Rape - Female under 13 - by a male 8 Suffolk Coastal

Causing/inflicting Child under13 to engage in sexual activity 8 Ipswich

Criminal Damage Other, Under �5,000 8 Suffolk Coastal

Criminal Damage Other, Under �5,000 8 Suffolk Coastal

Racially Aggravated Harassment Alarm Distress 8 Waveney

Theft - Other 8 Waveney

Shoplifting 8 Waveney

Shoplifting 8 Waveney

Shoplifting 8 Waveney

Criminal Damage - Vehicle - Under �5,000 8 Forest Heath

Burglary Other Building 8 Suffolk Coastal

Criminal Damage - Vehicle - Under �5 8 Waveney

Criminal Damage - Vehicle - Under �5 8 Forest Heath

Criminal Damage - Vehicle - Under �5 8 Forest Heath

Common Assault & Battery 9 Suffolk Coastal

Common Assault & Battery 9 Suffolk Coastal

Criminal Damage - Vehicle - Under �5,000 9 Babergh

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