Monday, March 27, 2006
This is the BBC report on a child who is clearly seriously troubled. The press will make a lot of this story and she is likely to receive scant sympathy, but a girl who has been offending since her age reached double figures must have a lot of issues to address. The court seems to have done things by the book (although my knowledge of the Youth Court is not great) but simple punishment will be of limited usefulness, and a sophisticated and expensive multi-agency approach is going to be needed to have even the slightest chance of sorting out the damage that she has already suffered. That kind of work is unglamorous and ill-appreciated by the public. The punishment freaks will be calling for her to be treated like an adult. But she is in law and in fact a child, and that is how we must deal with her.