Review of the service system and implementation requirements for raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility in the Australian Capital Territory: final report

Child welfare Criminal law Juvenile offenders Children Criminal justice Australian Capital Territory

Raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility in the ACT is a priority reform for the ACT government. Across Australia, the minimum age of criminal responsibility is 10 years. This means that children as young as 10 can be charged, convicted and incarcerated for a criminal offence.

Exposing children and young people to the criminal justice system can have a significant impact on their neurological and social development and can result in life-long interactions with the justice system.

Raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility provides options for therapeutic and restorative care to reduce children and young people's interaction with the criminal justice system, better meet the needs of these young children and their families, and keep the Canberra community safe.

In February 2021, the ACT government commissioned an independent review, headed by Emeritus Professor Morag McArthur, on the steps required to best support this major reform. This is the final report from that inquiry.

Editor's note

This report was originally submitted to the ACT government in August 2021, but was then not publicly released until 11 October 2021.

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