State government running out of excuses to delay action on 'raising the age'


The Victorian Greens have welcomed the Commission for Children and Young People’s call to raise the age of criminal responsibility in Victoria from 10 to 14.

The Commission now adds to a growing list of voices in support of the reform, including from groups as diverse as Change the Record, Amnesty Australia, NATSILS, the UN, and the Australian Medical Association.

Victorian Greens spokesperson for justice, Dr Tim Read, said the report released by the Commission today, ‘Our youth, our way’, made clear that our state’s current system was damaging the health of our children by locking them up rather than focusing on early intervention.

Dr Read added that children needed to be kept out of the justice system for as long as possible, as locking them up at such a young age made them more likely to reoffend, often violently, putting the community at risk.

When asked about the push to ‘raise the age’ during his press conference today, the Acting Premier disappointingly fobbed the issue off to a national process, a process we already know has fallen apart.

Earlier this year the Greens introduced a bill to raise the age in Victoria, which would amend section 344 of the Children Youth and Families Act 2005, and commence in November 2022.

The Greens have the legislation ready to go. We just need the political will of the government.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens spokesperson for justice, Dr Tim Read: 

“The state government cannot continue to pretend to be an innocent bystander when the Aboriginal justice gap continues to grow under their watch.

“The evidence is clear and the community has spoken. To reduce the over-imprisonment of First Nations children and protect them from the school-to-prison pipeline, we must raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14.

“Until we do, countless kids will be needlessly forced into a life-long relationship with the criminal justice system.”