Raising the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility

The Parliamentary and Governing Agreement for the 10th Legislative Assembly included a welcome commitment to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility. Alongside experts and advocates across the human rights, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, medical and legal sectors, the Youth Coalition advocated to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years. In 2023, the ACT Government committed to raising the age from 10 to 12 initially, with a commitment to raising it to 14 within two years, after service system reforms have been implemented. We congratulate the ACT Government for being the first Australian jurisdiction to recognise and act to prevent the damaging and potentially life-long effects of incarceration on children and young people.

Over the last few years, the Youth Coalition has worked closely with government and community stakeholders to progress this significant legislative change. In partnership with other key stakeholders, the Youth Coalition successfully put raising the age of criminal responsibility on the ACT agenda. This began in 2019 with a panel discussion at the Legislative Assembly. The panel led to a coalition of services and community members who aimed to progress this issue in the ACT that was led by Sophie Trevitt from Raise the Age, Children and Young People Commissioner Jodie Griffiths-Cook and the Youth Coalition. We developed a strategy to increase awareness and knowledge, including an overview of the current and impending reforms that supported and enabled the campaign to raise the age. These resources were widely disseminated, including interstate. We participated in numerous activities to support these reforms including the Review commissioned by the Justice and Community Safety Directorate to examine the ACT service system to assess and propose the changes required to improve outcomes for children and families and advocating for funding to implement these initiatives. We continue to work in partnership with key stakeholders to deliver these reforms.

Furthermore, following the cessation of funding to the FFT-YJ pilot program in the ACT, the Youth Coalition advocated for and then conducted an evaluation of the program, which found it to be a necessary component of a service system to support children and families. Subsequently, funding to re-establish FFT-YJ was announced in the 2023-24 ACT Budget

The Youth Coalition of the ACT
The Youth Coalition of the ACT

T | (02) 6247 3540
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The Youth Coalition of the ACT
46 Clianthus St O’Connor ACT 2602