Australia’s Children’s Commissioners ask to raise of the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 14

Australia’s Children’s Commissioners sign an open letter to raise of the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 14

Twelve of Australia’s Children’s Commissioners, Guardians and Advocates have signed an open letter addressed to Commonwealth, State and Territory Attorneys-General, asking them to raise the age of minimum criminal responsibility for children to at least 14 years old.

In their letter, they remind them that “It has been five years since Attorneys-General from each Australian jurisdiction made a commitment to reviewing the minimum age of criminal responsibility.” They note the progress by the ACT and Northern Territory Governments having raised the age to 12, and future commitments by Tasmania and Victoria. However, they also state that “while these announcements are welcome, they will result in a confusion of legislation and practice across the country, and operational challenges for police and service providers.”

They highlight that the age should be raised to 14, which is “what the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) has recommended, based on a wealth of evidence and expert advice, and it is the international benchmark.“

With this, they add their voices to multiple others from different sectors that demand this change all over Australia, supporting the #RaisetheAge campaign launched by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations in the legal, health, community and human rights fields in the country.