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Council of Attorneys-General – Age of Criminal Responsibility Working Group Review

The submission to the Council of Attorneys-General (CAG) Age of Criminal Responsibility Working Group (the Working Group) Review was prepared by the Law Council. 

Raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility is an issue of acute national importance. Across Australia, children as young as 10 years old are currently at risk of being incarcerated.

In the opinion of the Law Council, this is damaging and unacceptable. The current low minimum age of criminal responsibility is out of step with international human rights standards and the most recent medical evidence on child cognitive development. It also ignores the large body of social research highlighting the harmful effects of early contact with the criminal justice system, including entrenchment and recidivism, and a correlation with being less likely to complete education or find employment. Further, it ignores the social determinants that lead to certain cohorts, such as First Nations children, children in out-of-home care, and children with significant health issues, being disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system.

You can read the full submission below.
 

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