A young girl wearing a yellow t-shirt runs through a field flying a brightly coloured kite above her.

NT Senator’s bail motion won’t work: raising the age will

Amnesty International Australia has serious concerns about a motion passed today by Northern Territory Senator Samantha McMahon to “overhaul weak bail laws” in the Territory.

“The Northern Territory Government has already acknowledged and accepted the recommendations of the 2017 Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children, including raising the age of criminal responsibility,” Amnesty International Australia Indigenous Rights Lead, Nolan Hunter, said.

“This motion ignores both the fact that locking kids up traps them in the youth justice system, compounding recidivism, as well as the fact that youth crime in the Northern Territory has actually gone down in the past year.”

The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that there were 693 offenders aged between 10 and 17 years, a decrease of 9% from 2018–19.

“If Senator McMahon and people of the Northern Territory really want long-lasting and systemic change to address youth offending, then raising the age of criminal responsibility is the only logical, moral and evidence-based solution.

“Our society should be protecting and promoting the safety of children, and all the evidence shows that justice reinvestment programs are what’s effective for children in supporting them to lead healthy lives, free of the quicksand of the justice system.”