The time to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility in Western Australia is now. Attorney-General John Quigley has led the campaign amongst his colleagues to get the issue on to the Federal agenda (1), now it’s time for him to deliver in WA.
Western Australia has the opportunity to lead the country in raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14. Australia has one of the lowest ages of criminal responsibility in the world – the global median is 14.(2) It’s time for Western Australia to join the ACT – which has already committed to raising the age to fourteen – and uphold the universal rights of children.
In WA, 72% of the children detained in prisons across the state between 2019 – 2020 were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, despite only making up 5% of the population. (3) Prison is no place for a child, and the Western Australian Government knows this. In WA Olabud Doogethu is a community-led social justice program in Halls Creek that is working for children who would otherwise be stuck in the quicksand of the criminal justice system. Diversion programs that are Indigenous and community-led are the solutions to youth crime, not sending children to prison.
We have an opportunity to make a difference, by raising the age we have the chance to give these children the support they need to thrive. Attorney-General Quigley needs to know that the community wants the age to be raised — tell your local MP and MLC to urge him to act now!
What people are saying:
Social Reinvestment WA, https://www.socialreinvestmentwa.org.au/raise-the-age
1. The Australian, Major justice reform: push to lift age bar on crime, https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/major-justice-reform-push-to-lift-age-bar-on-crime/news-story/29e66d6ea24e79ca976c67c195c4ea21
2. Australian Human Rights Commission, National Children’s Commissioner, Children’s Rights Report 2016, https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/childrens-rights/publications/childrens-rights-report-2016
3. Social Reinvestment WA, Raise the Age WA: Social Reinvestment WA Snapshot, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59c61e6dbebafb0293c04a54/t/608f57fd69