Youth laws in Europe A report that intends to bring youth news close to young people in Europe. Do you think you know which the most common crime in Spain is?
We have gone to the street searching for answers to find
Must sexual relations between
out what people
minors and adults be
know about certain
consented? Do you know to what extent our privacy is respected on the Internet?
legal matters related to youngsters.
When YNE suggested that we prepared this special Edition of Europe Youth Laws we realized that, under the appearance of this fairly simple job for experienced and battle-hardened reporters like us, we were facing one of the toughest challenges of our journalistic career. Of course, the subject was not the real problem-it never is. The problem was the target audience: being in tune with people is not easy. We were given the opportunity to participate in a real report, living the journalistic experience. This is the end result. In Spain, YNE.
IN YOUR OPINION, WHICH IS THE MOST FREQUENT CRIME AMONG MINORS? ALTHOUGH A GREAT MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ANSWERED “ILLEGAL DOWNLOADING FROM THE INTERNET”, THEY WERE WRONG. THE MOST FREQUENT CRIME IS THEFT.
Child grooming Despite the fact that theft is the most frequent offence in Spain, the most striking cases of delinquent behaviour are related to the so-called “child grooming” and privacy on the Internet because of their increase and their impact on the media. We have reconstructed a story that could happen to any teenagers who use social networking to chat and to get to know other people. Where do online predators lurk? Wherever kids are active online, There is always the possibility that predators are lurking, looking for a potential victim. Popular sites among children and teenagers can be magnets for predators because they have so many potential victims from which to choose. Although most gaming and social networking sites aimed at children, have robust policies and safeguards in place to identify and prosecute paedophiles, hazard is always lurking. As such, predators often try to target children through less well-policed mediums that are open to all, such social networks Unfortunately, stories of teenagers cheated and caught by unscrupulous people are so usual. This is one of them.
LAILA My story began with a friendship request. Not even had I thought it when I accepted. He seemed a handsome charming guy, so I decided to send him a message. We got to know each other.
time to time, but after a few weeks, almost daily. It was
family horrible lies... 94% of the students have a computer at home. When they were asked if they have it in their own bedroom, 52, 27% of the students in 1º ESO answered “Yes”. This figure increases by 13.7% in 2º ESO
Have you got a computer with access to Internet?
LAILA ...“Without even realizing it, I moved from a supposed friendship to terrible bullying.Anxiety consumed me, I hardly ate, I couldn’t sleep… I even lost 10 kilos, my life stopped having meaning; waking up every morning was sheer torture since it meant suffering. Stupid though it may seem,threatens work when you are under someone’s control. You can’t ask for help from those who really love you and are eager to help you any time. Fortunately, my elder brother managed to get me to tell him what was going on; my whole family set about helping me. Without their help I don’t know what would have become of me.
Now I keep on
using social networks. One bad experience doesn’t mean everybody is bad but, if I see something that is not right, I tell my family. Of course, I certainly don’t’ think about returning to only having one close friend. My flesh and blood friends protect me, too and if I feel like meeting new people, I’ll do it with them.”
What did Laila do wrong? What were her social and family circumstances? A computer without parental control? Parents must exercise more control over their children in regards to Internet access. Should the teenager have lied about her age in order to protect herself? Would it have been legitimate to lie in this case? IT IS CLEAR THAT AT THIS AGE IT IS NECESSARY TO GET TO KNOW NEW PEOPLE; SO SEEMS HIGHLY DESIRABLE THAT PARENTS MONITOR THEM AT HOME AND SCHOOLS SPEAK TO THEM ABOUT THIS.
Have you got a social network account?
Access to social networking sites is simple for everybody, including minors. You just have to lie about your date of birth when signing up.
Itâ€™s that easy! 4
Crimes among minors Are thieves born or made? How does one become a professional thief before having reached adulthood? Is it genes, need, a desire to imitate their peers, ambition, boredom? What causes kids to steal?
Juvenile Detention Centre by a judicial order. San Jorge (Zaragoza, Spain)
29 offenders between the ages of 14 and 23 live here by court order after having been sentenced to a period of detention. Bars, a prison yard surrounded by concrete walls and separate blocks. Also, open spaces: swimming pool, vegetable garden, and sports centre. Minors who have committed crimes and are now in the custody of the stateâ€Ś to be re-educated back into society.
Javier is 14 and he doesnâ€™t remember life without stealing. Along with his siblings and other kids, he stole when it was time to eat and when he wanted to treat himself to sweeties, pens, toy cars and other trinkets. He has been in the detention centre for a year and he will have to stay there till he reaches the age of 17. He has committed every kind of offence, from small theft to violent robbery.
At what age did you start stealing? I don’t remember like life without stealing in it. Where I’m from, all us children used to like hang around in it. It didn’t matter about age.
Why do you do it? It’s easy in it and I get things I need or I like having. I ain’t got no money.
When were you first arrested? I was like 10 when I got caught selling designer trainers.
How many? I had like 150 pairs.
How did you get them? That’s a trader’s secret in it.
Right now you are an inmate in this centre. Do you feel supported by your family/society/institutions? My family is better off without me in it. One less mouth to feed, the better. They’ve got their own problems and I’m not a baby any more. Society couldn’t care less about what’s going on in here. We are riff-raff, annoying rabble society would like to get rid of…
You still have 3 years here. What do you intend to do when you have your freedom? Steal. Get by. Do my own thing. This is my life in it.
What will you do when you are an adult? I dunno. I might die young like. Become a millionaire robbing a bank and live in the Caribbean in it.
Laura A 15-year-old secondary student. When she goes out with her friends they usually go to Department Stores and wait for the right moment to steal. Sometimes they record it and then they watch their performance :they feel proud of their abilities, correct small mistakes and, above all, have a graphic testimony to their past time like most young people do today.
At what age did you start to steal? I started a couple of years ago, when I began to have more freedom and was allowed to go out with my friends. Why do you do it? It’s an intense experience. And I can afford treats I couldn’t have otherwise. Is your family aware of this? They haven’t the faintest idea about it. And I hope to keep it that way. My parents are ordinary people. They would kill me. Why do you let your friends record you? Why have you agreed to this interview? The bug of fame. It’s not much fun if nobody else knows what you do. Risk and having an audience makes it much more exciting.
Underaged consent sex Have you ever wondered if sex among adolescents is legal? Whereâ€™s the line between the right to decide in adolescents and the need to protect them? What do European laws say about it? What do experts-paediatricians and psychologists- think about it? And parents? And adolescents themselves? Some politicians, in the European Parliament, want each of any pair of under-16s who have sex to face criminal prosecution under the existing law. As we understand it, all persons have a human right to consensual sexual activity, so are the grounds on which these under-16s are deemed not to have that right going suddenly, at some time, to be similarly found untenable because this prohibition is founded on no more than the interest, inconvenience or embarrassment of adults.
Probably, the best interest of children wouldn't be to turn up to 80% of them into potential criminals.
This is what people in the street answered about the minimum legal age of consent,and most of them are right. Letâ€™s see it:
48% of the people said 16 ages; and nearly the other half were wrong. We must keep in mind that Parliament has recently amended the Penal Code and the minium age of consent ofconsent has been raised from 13 to 16. This brings Spain into line with other European countries.
This particular feature of the spanish laws is an attempt to keep the romani people, who get married at an early age, in mind.
Marriage age in some European countries
Let's read some adult's comments: MP: “The reason we legislate against underage sex is because we believe that there is an age before which a person is not able, mature or responsible enough to make that decision.” Adult couple: “We think we also have to seperate whether it is right for two children to have sex from whether it should be illegal. In the given case of a 15 year old and a 13 year old having consensual sex – We're, parents and we would certainly want to stop this from happening. But we would certainly not want to prosecute.” Judge: “It is clear that we must protect those girls under sixteen who are not mature enough and may be in contact with those who might coerce them. However, it can’t be generalized that all minors are immature to give consent.” 9
And what about adolescents themselves?
From what we have seen above, we can deduce that we must find a balance between protecting minors interests and social realities. To do so, some laws are necessary but, above all, lots of common senseâ€Ś The eternal conflict between law and real life.