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What Drives a Child to Kill?

Crime + Investigation has conducted a survey of 2,000 UK adults conducted September 2017, asking the public’s view on what causes children to kill, the subject of the new TV series ‘Jo Frost On Britain’s Killer Kids’ – and reveals a nation divided in its views.

What side of the coin do you fall on? We want to hear your opinion of kids who kill, so make sure you vote below each question!

1. Do you believe that children who have committed murder are born pre-disposed to kill or are more likely to have been conditioned by the environment in which they are brought up? (By environment/upbringing, we are referring to their family life and home life in general and what social factors they are exposed to in their formative childhood years)

  Options % / Number of people that agree
1
I believe children who commit murder are born as killers and the environment they're brought up in has little influence on this
7.55%
151
2
I believe children who commit murder are born as killers but the environment they're brought up in plays a role in making them become a killer too
30.95%
619
3
I believe that how a child is brought up and the environment they're brought up in is almost entirely responsible for whether they become a killer
45.30%
906
4
Don't know
13.65%
273
5
Other option
2.55%
51

 

2. In the UK, the age of criminal responsibility is set at ten years old in England and Wales. This means that children under 10 cannot be arrested or charged with a crime. In Scotland, the age of criminal responsibility is set at eight years old, although there are plans to raise it to 12. Do you believe 10 years old is the right age for criminal responsibility to be set?

  Options % / Number of people that agree
1
Yes
50.15%
1003
2
No
26.65%
533
3
Don't know
23.20%
464

3. What do you believe to be the right age for criminal responsibility to be set?

  Options % / Number of people that agree
1
Under 8
8.32%
83
2
8
13.84%
138
3
9
1.50%
15
4
11
3.11%
31
5
12
9.33%
93
6
13
4.91%
49
7
14
4.71%
47
8
15
1.60%
16
9
16+
2.81%
28
10
Don't know
11.43%
114
11
I believe it depends on the individual child and each case should be judged separately rather than having a fixed age set
38.42%
383

4. Children aged 10 who commit murder are almost always very disturbed and have experienced severe family problems (such as domestic violence, sexual abuse) and so are unable to adequately understand the severity of their actions. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

  Options % / Number of people that agree
1
Strongly agree
14.20%
284
2
Somewhat agree
37.30%
746
3
Neither agree nor disagree / Don't know
29.20%
584
4
Somewhat disagree
14.50%
290
5
Strongly disagree
4.80%
96

5. Do you believe that children growing up today are exposed to more violent culture through their exposure to social media and computer games?

  Options % / Number of people that agree
1
Yes
80.10%
1602
2
No
11.85%
237
3
Don't know
8.05%
161

6. Do you believe this exposure to violent culture can have an impact on their likelihood to be influenced to commit violent criminal acts?

  Options % / Number of people that agree
1
Yes
79.15%
1268
2
No
7.43%
119
3
Don't know
13.42%
215

7. Do you believe parents or primary carers of children who kill should be held responsible?

  Options % / Number of people that agree
1
Yes, parents/care givers should almost always be held accountable in some capacity as they must take responsibility for how their children have been raised and conditioned to commit murder
15.85%
317
2
Yes, I believe that more often than not parents or care givers have contributed to their child becoming a killer, and that as such they must be held responsible in some degree
24.75%
495
3
Yes, I believe that in the minority of cases, parents or care givers have contributed to their child becoming a killer, and that as such they must be held responsible in some degree
27.50%
550
4
Yes, other
3.10%
62
5
No, I don't believe parents or care givers should in any way be held responsible for the crimes their children commit
13.15%
263
6
Don't know
15.65%
313

8. What is your view on how children who commit murder are dealt with by the courts?

  Options % / Number of people that agree
1
They should be given a whole life term automatically ('whole life term' means no minimum term is set and that person is never considered for release)
12.60%
252
2
They should be given a life sentence (meaning they can be given parole at the end of the sentence) and then be kept under supervision for the rest of their lives
19.45%
389
3
Extensive psychiatric and psychological counselling should be provided to children to enable their eventual rehabilitation into society
15.60%
312
4
Each case and the circumstances around the child's life and how the murder happened need to be considered individually rather than there being one set approach by the courts.
40.90%
818
5 Don't Know
10.90%
218
6 Other
0.55%
11

9. Do you believe children who kill can typically be rehabilitated and re-enter society, if they are given extensive psychiatric and psychological support and therapy?

  Options % / Number of people that agree
1
Yes
13.10%
262
2
Maybe
57.40%
1148
3
No
17.50%
350
4
Don't know
12.00%
240

Want to see more on this taboo? Tune in to our #CIDebate where Jo Frost, Emma Kenny and more discuss what exactly drives a child to kill!

Jo Frost on Britain’s Killer Kids Sundays, 10pm.