Submission: Draft Justice (Age of Criminal Responsibility) Legislation Amendment Bill 2023
13 June 2023
ACTCOSS welcomed the opportunity to provide feedback to the public consultation on the Justice (Age of Criminal Responsibility) Legislation Amendment Bill 2023. This Bill raises the minimum age of criminal responsibility in a staged manner from 10 years of age to 14 years. Over the next two years, the government intends to design and deliver more support services for children in the 10-13 age group, and during this period the minimum age of criminal responsibility will be 12 years of age.
In 2025, it will be raised to 14 with exceptions for 12-13 year olds who are accused of offences that are considered to represent a severe threat to community safety, such as murder. ACTCOSS remains opposed to the exceptions, and alongside the majority of professional legal and medical advocates, we continue to call for the minimum age of criminal responsibility to be 14 years of age with no exceptions.
We remain concerned about the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children in the youth justice system and the systems that currently reinforce this injustice. This submission calls for the government to apply a human rights focus for all children, and to work towards building a community where children and their families are provided with effective supports, rather than criminalised.