Uniting Vic.Tas welcomes the leadership displayed by the Victorian Government in its commitment to raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12, and to age 14 by 2027.
Uniting fully supports this reform and looks forward to working with the Victorian Government to ensure that all children and young people have access to the care and supports required for them to develop well and reach their full potential.
The evidence has been clear for a long time – children do not belong in prison. When children get caught up in the criminal justice system, they are subjected to further trauma, stigma and harm. Children deserve to be supported by our community, not shut out of it.
We are troubled by the four-year delay in raising the age to 14 and call upon the Victorian Government to work closely with children and young people, ACCO’s, community services organisations, legal services and peak bodies to meet international standards by raising the age to 14 with immediate priority.
We have a responsibility to all children to do the work required for them to exit the justice system and thrive. When the Standing Council of Attorney Generals meet this Friday 28 April, we urge them to raise the age with no carve-outs. Uniting look forward to bi-partisan leadership from all members of Parliament towards meaningful reform.