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Children aged 10 and 11 will not be held criminally responsible for their actions in Victoria by the end of next year. Source: The Age.

But the Andrews Government will wait until 2027 to raise the age of responsibility to 14 – as demanded by Indigenous, legal and medical groups. The second stage of reforms will include exclusions for children accused of more serious crimes, yet to be determined.

Children aged 10 and 11 will not be held criminally responsible for their actions in Victoria by the end of next year, Victorian Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said yesterday.

Ms Symes said the Government had decided against raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14 immediately to design and implement a safety net for at-risk 12 and 13-year-olds.

“I am very concerned that if you raise it too quickly, you’re going to have unintended consequences,” she said. “You’re going to have kids falling through the gap, and you’re going to have a waiting list of kids stepping into custody at 14.

Jesuit Social Services chief executive Julie Edwards said the Government’s decision to raise the age of criminality was “overdue” but does not go far enough. 

“Victoria is overdue in joining other states and territories including the Northern Territory and the ACT in recognising that criminalising and incarcerating children as young as 10 does not benefit them, their families or the broader community,” Ms Edwards said.

“In fact, research has shown that children who have contact with detention at a young age are more likely to have further contact with the justice system throughout their lives and into adulthood.

“However, failing to raise the age to 14 now means Victoria will still be locking up children aged 12 and 13 for years to come. This half step is nothing short of a missed opportunity for Victoria to lead the country in evidence-based approaches to supporting children in trouble.”


Age of criminal responsibility raised to 12 by end of next year (By Rachel Eddie and Sumeyya Ilanbey, The Age

Plan to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 12 does not go far enough (Jesuit Social Services)