A group of 60 organisations are calling for the Victorian Government to raise the age of criminal responsibility to the age of 14 with no exceptions.
The call came in a joint letter by Aboriginal, legal, health, faith, youth and human rights groups including the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and the Human Rights Law Centre.
In February, Premier Daniel Andrews announced his government would act on raising the age of criminal responsibility, even if it has to do so without a national consensus.
The Northern Territory Government last year raised the age to 12 and the Tasmanian Government announced it would raise minimum age of children in youth detention,
Signatories of the letter say it would be a failure for the Andrews Government is it didn’t raise the age to 14.
CEO of Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, Nerita Waight says “All the expert advice says that children under 14 years old do not have the capability to be criminally responsible and that prison only harms their development.”
CEO for the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Jill Gallagher says “there should be a greater focus and investment in evidence-based intervention programs that address the causes of offending.”
Acting Managing Lawyer for the Human Rights Law Centre, Amala Ramarathinam says “Anything less than 14, or with exceptions, will continue to be an abject failure by the Andrews Government to uphold the human rights of children and young people in Victoria”