Premier Daniel Andrews’ pledge to raise the age of criminal responsibility in Victoria – either as part of a national approach or on its own – will make a tangible difference to the lives of children, families and the broader community, says Jesuit Social Services.
“We are thrilled that the Premier has committed to raising the age of criminal responsibility – meaning children as young as 10 years can no longer be held in detention which we know causes such significant harm and only increases the likelihood of them having further contact with the justice system as they get older,” Jesuit Social Services chief executive Julie Edwards said.
“Jesuit Social Services and our colleagues in the community services and legal fraternity have advocated for this for many years. The evidence has been clear for a long time that Australia is out of step with human rights standards and medical science regarding child development by continuing to incarcerate primary school aged children as young as 10.”
Ms Edwards said that while details of Victoria’s move to raise the age are currently unclear, it is imperative that the age be raised from 10 to a minimum of 14 years, with no exceptions.
“It is estimated that children who are arrested before they turn 14 are three times more likely to re-offend as adults than children arrested after they turn 14.
“[Yesterday’s] announcement is an opportunity to ensure that Victoria raises the age of criminal responsibility to at least 14, giving more children the opportunity to reach their potential and lead healthy and fulfilling lives in the community.”
Victoria’s move to #RaiseTheAge will support children families and the broader community (Jesuit Social Services)