The Victorian Greens have said there is absolutely no reason the age of criminal responsibility can’t be raised to 14 during the current term of Parliament, following reports the Victorian Labor Government plans to wait until after the next state election to do so.
The Greens say raising the age to just 12 in the meantime represents a timid, politicised decision that completely ignores what First Nations communities have been calling for for decades.
It is also entirely inconsistent with the advice from leading medical, legal and human rights groups across the world.
Victorian Greens justice spokesperson, Katherine Copsey, said children should be cared for and protected, supported and guided, to learn and grow, not charged, convicted and even imprisoned.
She said the Government’s decision was yet another typical Labor compromise that revealed an ongoing tension within the party.
Earlier this year, the Greens re-introduced their bill to amend section 344 of the Children Youth and Families Act 2005 to raise the age of criminal responsibility in Victoria to 14, as well as outlawing the use of solitary confinement in youth justice facilities.
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens justice spokesperson, Katherine Copsey MLC:
“There is absolutely no reason we can’t raise the age to at least 14 in this term of Parliament.
“This is something experts and advocates have been calling for for decades, so it beggars belief that the Government is kicking this can down the road yet again.
"Aboriginal children account for almost 65 per cent of young people behind bars around Australia. To change this, we need strong action, not a timid gesture.
“The Greens look forward to seeing more detail about the Government’s plan, and will continue fighting alongside the community to make sure they stay true to their word and raise the age to 14 as soon as possible.
“Twelve-year-olds are still too young for Facebook, so why does the Government want to drag them to court and even prison?”