Labor fail to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14, plan to shackle children instead

Australian Greens

The Victorian Greens have slammed the Labor government for failing to immediately raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14 and warn that their law and order response won’t keep kids out of prison and will invite more unnecessary and unsafe interactions with police.

Despite a mountain of evidence that backs the age of criminal responsibility being raised to 14, Labor plan to only raise the age to 12, ignoring First Nations communities, the UN, and medical, legal and human rights groups.

Labor’s Youth Justice Bill being introduced to parliament today plans to shackle children by slapping ankle bracelets on them and allocates even more powers to police.

This follows Labor’s decision earlier this year to wind back funding for The Youth Support and Advocacy Services (YSAS), a service that supports young people who have had recent contact with police.

The Greens spokesperson for Justice Katherine Copsey said that Labor has ignored First Nations communities, as well as legal and health advice, that calls for the age of criminal responsibility to be lifted to 14.

As stated by Greens spokesperson for Justice Katherine Copsey:

“Labor are turning their backs on First Nations children and young people.

“If Labor was serious about the truth-telling and Treaty process, it would listen to First Nations people instead of consistently ignoring their advice.

“Labor want to slap ankle bracelets on children and expand police powers, meaning that children will be having more unnecessary and unsafe interactions with police.

As stated by Leader of the Victorian Greens Ellen Sandell:

“Labor says that kids under 16 should be banned from social media – but they’re happy for kids aged 12 and 13 to be put in prison. Prison is not a safe place for children, and also doesn’t lead to better community safety.

“Kids belong in school, not in prison.

“Labor have caved in to right-wing pressure and chosen to ignore all the advice of experts and First Nations communities that says we should keep kids under 14 out of prison”

/Public Release. View in full here.