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Minister passes buck on protecting vulnerable children

By December 8, 2021No Comments

Today in Parliament I asked the Minister for Children and Youth, Sarah Courtney, if she would support raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years. Disappointingly she declined, ignoring the advice of experts who have to work with vulnerable young people in a justice system that fails those children.

It is alarming that the Minister responsible for children should seemingly walk away from her most fundamental of responsibility: to care and protect our children.

The text of my question:

Thank you Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Children and Youth.

Minister, prominent organisations such as the United Nations, the Commissioner for Children and Young People Tasmania, the Law Society of Tasmania, the Australian Medical Association, the Law Council of Australia, TasCOSS, an Tasmania’s Community Legal Centres have all strongly recommended that the age of criminal responsibility should be raised to 14.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has found that children have not developed the requisite level of maturity by the age of 14 to form the necessary intent for full criminal responsibility.

Adrienne Piccone from TasCOSS recently said, “expert evidence shows that many children who end up in the criminal justice system have experienced trauma, abuse and neglect. These children need our care and protection, not imprisonment. The decision of the Attorneys General flies in the face of evidence and is in nobody’s best interest. ”Minister, will you stand up for these vulnerable young Tasmanians and ask the Attorney General to reconsider her position in the best interest of Tasmania’s children?

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