Danish Policy on Youth crime

Because crime is primarily a youth phenomenon, and because people under the age of 24 are overrepresented 3 to 1 in the criminal justice system, there is good reason to prevent youth crime.

In Denmark the age of criminal responsibility is 15 years. Young people under the age of 15 committing a criminal act will be dealt with in the social services system, and young people between the ages of 15 and 18 will be dealt with according to special rules in the criminal justice system.

In recent years, there has been great focus on preventing youth crime. In 2009, the so-called Youth Commission of the government submitted a report on what the best and most evidence based prevention of youth crime is and should be. Based on the report, a number of measures have been implemented in the social services' area, and a number of initiatives have been launched to create cross-sector cooperation efforts between authorities and local actors.

The most recent data shows that youth crime has been declining since 2006, a trend that occurs in many other European countries. Among other things, tis is explained by a decline in alcohol consumption among youth, a decline in drug use and a focus on early identification of those who need extra help. Finally, there are also some more subjective explanations such as how young people are disciplined for the future, which is a term that describes the phenomenon that young people are conscious of the impact a criminal record might have on their future career opportunities.

Contact details:
The Danish Ministry of Justice: /
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration: /
The National Board of Social Services: /
The Danish Crime Prevention Council: