Friday, 22 January 2021

Statement on raising the age of criminal responsibility

The following comments can be attributed to Elizabeth Carroll, President of the ACT Law Society:

The ACT Law Society has again called attention to the need for swift action on raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years.

In recent days, two reports have brought intense focus on the issue of children in the prison system, and particularly the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander children in youth detention. The United Nations Universal Periodic Review criticised Australia for its slow action on raising the age of criminal responsibility, while the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services highlighted the significant number of children under youth justice supervision. 

We are proud to be part of a group of peak community bodies that have been working together to advocate for raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 years to 14.

The Society applauds the ACT Government for taking a leading role in committing to raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility in our region. We were very pleased to have received notice last week of the first early steps being taken towards a review of the services and systems that will be required in order to support the change in the ACT.

We recognise that there is significant work to be done to ensure that systems are in place to support this legislative change, both within and outside the justice system.

The Society would like to see all local stakeholders, from both the community and government sectors, brought together to collaborate on finding effective solutions and to support completion of the review process in a timely manner.

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