D4.5 Legal landscape for tackling cybercrime offenses by minors in Europe and beyond


This report provides an overview of the rules applicable to minor offenders, in particular about the following behaviours: 

  • Online grooming (Section 2); 
  • Online grooming for human trafficking (Section 3); 
  • Cyberbullying (Section 4); 
  • Misinformation and Deception (Section 5); 
  • Online piracy, e.g., online copyright offenses (Section 6); 
  • Hacking and using or creating Cybercrime as a Service (Section 7).

Both international and national perspectives are presented, covering the following jurisdictions: Belgium;  Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, The Netherlands, Brazil, China, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, The United Kingdom (UK), The United States of America (USA). 

The report also presents the general juvenile justice systems of all these countries and international perspectives on the criminal responsibility of minors (Section 1). 

The purpose of the study and this report is to provide recommendations for the RAYUELA serious game. Recommendations are presented in this report in light blue boxes, and all recommendations are grouped at the end of each section. 

As seen in the recommendation subsection of each section and in the conclusions, the general outcome of the study is that criminal liability may indeed attach to minors who execute any of the abovementioned behaviors. Sanctions (sometimes including custodial sentences), reformation and education measures, fines, civil liability, and other consequences may apply depending on the specific circumstances and the severity of the behavior. In some countries, minors may sometimes be tried as adults and tackled with the full force of the law, mainly when they are older adolescents. 

The game should therefore aim to provide guidance, based on the recommendations provided in this report, to explain to the young players at what point certain behaviour crosses the line from innocent into potentially criminal behaviour and to reinforce the importance of staying on the right side of the dividing line.