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Children and the Criminal Justice System
Under section 37 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (CDA) the principal aim of the youth justice system is to prevent offending by children and young persons. The CDA seeks to achieve this aim by promoting a range of diversionary tactics which remove children from the criminal justice system and introducing a range of alternative sentences if children are thought to be acting in an anti social manner. The use of such measures however is controversial because they effectively create status offences where behaviour which would not attract criminal sentences if it were committed by adults is criminalised in respect of children.