The Victorian government is taking the next steps to raise the age of criminal responsibility by putting an independent panel together to oversee the process.
In April this year, the state government committed to lifting the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12 years old by the end of the next year, with plans to raise it again to 14 in 2027.
The second step of the changes will be dependent on alternative early intervention strategies and rehabilitative processes, which will be overseen by the panel.
The panel will be chaired by Patricia Faulkner AO, the former Secretary of Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services, Deputy Commissioner of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence and chair of Jesuit Social Services.
Other members include the state’s inaugural commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People, Andrew Jackomos.
In a Victoria parliament media release Faulkner says the panel when ensure families stay together.
“The best place for a child is with their family, extended family or community.
The Independent Review Panel will work to find a model that achieves this.”
The State Minister for Children Lizzie Blandthorn, says the panel will support vulnerable young people.
We’re supporting at-risk children, young people and their families to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.
The Alternative Service Model will consider a range of early interventions and rehabilitative support services to help children and young people grow up safe, connected and supported to reach their full potential.”
While the state’s Minister for Youth Justice Enver Erdogan will reduce young people’s exposure to the justice system.
“With the expertise of the Independent Review Panel, we will design an Alternative Service Model that provides children and their families the support they need to turn their lives around and stay out of the criminal justice system for good.
That is good for them, and it will make the community safer.”
Last year the United Nations Committee against Torture have previously called for all Australian Jurisdictions to raise the age criminal responsibility and highlighted how the Don Dale, Banskia Hill and Ashley youth detention centres all contravened the UN Convention against Torture and the Nelson Mandela Rules, which prohibit the use of solitary confinement for children.