Oxfam Australia has welcomed news today that the ACT passed legislation to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 14.
We commend the ACT government as Australia’s first jurisdiction set to pass legislation to keep children younger than 14 out of prisons, and call on other jurisdictions to urgently heed expert advice and international best practice by lifting the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years of age.
Current policies nationwide are not in the best interests of children, and disproportionately harm First Nations children and their families, who are massively over-represented in the criminal justice system.
Jimi Peters, Oxfam’s First Peoples Program’s National Partnerships Lead welcomed the news but calls for more and faster action to improve the lives of First Nations people.
“This ACT reform is a positive step, but they need to move faster. While there have been numerous recommendations and promises in reports, it is crucial to transition from words to action for real improvements in outcomes for our young people and First Nations communities,” said Mr Peters.
“Raising the age is one action that Australian governments can take right now that will have an immediate and generational impact to end the over-incarceration of First Nations people. We’re calling on all jurisdictions to raise the age to 14 years,” he said.
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