The age of criminal responsibility in Scotland is set to increase next month from eight to 12.
MSPs unanimously backed plans to make the change in a vote at Holyrood in May 2019.
The legislation will be fully in place on December 17, the Scottish Government has now confirmed.
It means that Scotland will have the highest age of criminal responsibility in the UK.
Parts of the Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019 have already been implemented.
They include regulations which mean that a child under 12 cannot be considered an ‘offender’.
As well as raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12, the Act also provides safeguards to ensure harmful behaviour by children under 12 can be responded to in an appropriate and meaningful way, which will not criminalise children.
Scotland’s children’s minister Clare Haughey indicated the law will help improve the life chances and wellbeing of primary school-aged children.
“This ground-breaking law aims to protect children from the harmful effects of early criminalisation,” she said.
“It means primary school-aged children will no longer be stigmatised from being labelled as offenders at such a young age, which will improve their life chances and wellbeing.
“Evidence shows that many children and young people who display harmful behaviours are highly vulnerable and have experienced trauma and adversity.
“They may have been victims of crime in their own lives. Understanding this, and responding with compassion and willingness to work with children will ensure that fewer enter the criminal justice system as they grow up.“
Haughey explained the law will ensure that victims are able to get support and have their voices heard.
She said: “The act has safeguards to ensure that serious harmful behaviour will be investigated appropriately and that victims will continue to get the support they need and to have their voices heard.
“The legislation means Scotland will have the highest age of criminal responsibility in the UK – we are proud to be leading the way in this progressive approach.”