Young people under the age of 14 have not yet reached the age of criminal responsibility and therefore cannot be held responsible for crimes they have committed. In this way, the victims are left with their losses.
Such a problem child is the 13-year-old who already has more than 200 entries for criminal acts and who was present this year when a car workshop was broken into, in which two high-horsepower cars were stolen and crashed.
Due to very difficult family circumstances, the child and youth welfare of the province of Upper Austria (formerly youth welfare) has taken on the full upbringing of the boy, who will be 14 years old in the next few weeks. How much does it cost to look after this boy? That’s what the FP state parliamentary club chairman Herwig Mahr wanted to know from state councilor Michael Lindner (SP), who is responsible for child and youth welfare.
“The daily rate in this specific case is 288 euros,” says the written response to the FP request. For additional care staff and employment offers, however, there would be “additional costs of about the same amount,” it said. That is more than 17,000 euros per month.
Because there is no legal basis, cases like this are proof “that the age of criminal responsibility needs to be discussed,” says Mahr. “A policy of kid gloves for serial offenders does not bring any improvement.” Instead, 17,000 euros would be “blown away” every month. Lindner’s department kept a low profile when answering the request, as far as the specific case is concerned, that children and young people are subject to a duty of confidentiality. The prosecution of crime is the task of the police and the criminal justice system. The task of his department is to ensure the child’s well-being and to “preclude risks as far as possible,” answers Provincial Councilor Lindner.
Gottfried Mitterlehner, head of the State Criminal Police Office, points out that neither the legal guardians nor the care facility will bear the damage, the victims are left sitting on it. “All institutions agree that you should be very careful about locking up young people early.” But such serious cases require legal action, “linked to an educational concept to get these young people back on the right track,” says Mitterlehner. The current situation is “very unsatisfactory”.