What age can my child...

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At 10

This is the age of criminal responsibility which means that between the ages of 10 and 14, a child can be convicted of a criminal offence if it can be proved they knew what they were doing was seriously wrong.

At 13

This is the age where a child can have a part-time job, with some restrictions.


A young girl at her part time job
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At 14

Your child:

• Is considered to be fully responsible for their actions, so if they commit a criminal offence, they will be treated the same as an adult (except for sentencing).

• Can go into a pub, but can't buy alcohol.

• Can give evidence in a court case.

• Must wear a seatbelt and can be fined if caught without one. It's not just the driver's responsibility!




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At 16

Your child can:

• Have a full time job if they have officially left school.

• Live independently, subject to certain conditions being met.

• Get married with parents' or guardians' consent.

• Ride a moped of up to 50ccs.

• Pilot a glider.

• Have sex, whether that's with someone of the same sex or opposite sex.

• Have an abortion without their parent’s consent.

• Apply for their own passport.

• Have a beer or cider while eating a meal in a restaurant or an eating area of a pub, but not in the bar.

• Buy a lottery ticket, including scratch cards.

A boy can join the armed forces but only with his parents' or carers' consent.
Lottery balls

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At 17

Your child can:

• Hold a licence to drive most vehicles.

• Pilot a plane.

• Donate blood.

• Leave home without their parents' consent.

At 18

Your child can:

• Legally be seen as an adult in the eyes of the law.

• Vote in general and local elections.

• Get married.

• Buy cigarettes and tobacco.

• Open a bank account in their name without a parent or carer's signature.

• Buy and drink alcohol in a bar.

• Change their name.

• Be sued or sue.

• Make a will.

• Place a bet.

• Have a tattoo.

• Buy fireworks and sparklers.

• Get a mobile phone on a monthly contract in their own name.

• Own houses and land.