Raise the Minimum Age for Criminal Responsibility

Raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12

A statement from Anne McLeish, Director Kinship Carers Victoria

27 April 2023

GPV/KCV welcomes the decision made by the Victorian Cabinet on Monday to lift the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12. As GPV/KCV has campaigned for this issue for some time, we are disappointed with the mystifying decision to wait another few years before lifting the age limit to 14.

However, equally mystifying and disappointing are the views being expressed suggesting that lifting the age of criminal responsibility will mean children are not held accountable. These views come from a narrow band of thinking about the most effective ways to hold children responsible for their actions. As a society we need to do so without creating a lifelong tag for children as criminals that may prevent them from becoming the citizens in adulthood we all would want.

It can only be hoped that in the interim the courts continue to do what they can to make use of the doli incapax provisions in law which describe the inability of children under the minimum age of criminal responsibility to form criminal intent. If a child is aged over 10 years but under 14, there is a common law presumption of doli incapax.

Anne McLeish OAM, Director GPV/KCV

Raise the Age Campaign

The newly elected ACT Government has committed to change the law and raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility!

When the state and territory Attorneys-General met on 29 July 2020 they made the disappointing decision to ignore overwhelming evidence that raising the age will give Australian kids a better chance at life. They said children as young as 10 years old might have to wait another 12 months before politicians would decide whether or not to do the right thing.

The ACT Government has shown what’s possible!

Children across Australia should be in schools and playgrounds, not prison cells. As the ACT Government has shown leadership, every other state and territory government must follow suit and change their laws so that children are no longer hauled before courts and locked away in jails.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Build momentum by encouraging your family and friends to sign onto the petition here at raisetheage.org.au

We won’t stop until we have #RaisedTheAge in every state and territory in Australia