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The Forum > General Discussion > The Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility.

The Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility.

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In 2019 the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that 14 years be set as the minimum age of criminal responsibility, presently in Australia it is 10 years of age. Many here, including doctors and lawyers, have advocated a lifting of the age to 14. This week a meeting of the Council of Attorneys-General, made up of state, territories and federal leading law makers failed to reach agreement on the issue.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said it was unlikely any reforms would be made until the final report was presented to the council in 2021.

"When you have nine jurisdictions at CAG you could have nine different responses, so I don't know whether there will be a consensus, but a decision will (eventually) be made one way or other," he said.

At last count there were around 600 children between the ages of 10 and 14 incarcerated in Australia. With so many instances of the failure of the juvenile justice system, why are we continuing to lock up children in this way?
Posted by Paul1405, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 6:53:24 AM
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I know a kid like this.
He's just turned 15, and has been on the wrong path doing harm to others and getting away with it more or less unrestrained for years.
Only now have the courts started to get really serious with him.

I don't know his full rap sheet, but some of them his accomplishments:

Assaults.
Grievous bodily harm upon a handicapped child.
Stealing cars multiple times
Break and enter, stealing
Bashing his mother and younger sister
Racial abuse to neighbours and others
Drugs as in cannibis and amphetamines
Weapons (such as weilding a machete in public - and he had the gaul to demand police give it back)
Firearms - apparently he has a pistol
(The police have looked for it but hes hidden it somewhere.)

This kid has been allowed to run rampant for years.
The only result possible at this stage is that he will continue to harm others, more or less anyone who comes into contact with them.

He has a don't care attitude, which you really can't beat.
And you can't change his behavior so long as he doesn't care.
He's going to keep harming others, and one day he might really go to far, if some of the stuff he's done already doesn't meet that criteria.
He may never stop harming others.

The stuff he gets away with as a kid, well any one of us would be locked up for 100 years and that's not an exaggeration.

Little criminals are already getting a free pass, and if you were harder on them, not softer on them maybe you could stop them from becoming bigger criminals.

I oppose anything that equates to more lenient punishment on 'out of control' kids. The sooner they understand that their are laws to prevent criminal behavior the better.

Shoplifting and smoking weed are one thing.
GBH on handicapped people, stealing cars, break and enters, assaults and firearms are something else.
Posted by Armchair Critic, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 8:58:20 AM
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[Cont.]
So look at the bigger picture:

You've got a 14yo (just turned 15) with a chip on his shoulder and a 'I don't care attitude'
Hes using amphetamines and has a firearm,
And a rapsheet that's probably bigger than all the forum members here combined.

And you're saying we should move to give these kids an extra 4 year free pass to get away with stuff?
Do you think these kids are not smart enough to know they can get away with things and work the system to their advantage?

I know there's an argument that you need to get to the bottom of their bad behavior, try and find the causes of why they act the way they do, especially as kids / adolescents, social worker type stuff,
But this doesn't necessarily equate to allowing them to run rampant and issuing them with a 'free pass' to not have to face the consequences of their actions and take any responsibility when they harm other members of the community.
Posted by Armchair Critic, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 9:16:32 AM
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Only the Latte sipping, pink coloured glasses wearing brigade would have the insanity of raising that age.
I have been at the receiving end of such kids to the extent that it has totally ruined my life plans.
Once they get to 16 they then become the figureheads who direct the younger ones to continue their ways largely with impunity. Only the severe cases end up in detention & only because the bureaucrats responsible for that mess find themselves unable to cover up any longer. Give parents & teachers & other citizens more freedom to discipline such kids & the rate will drop instantly. Police too should be made to go & chase these culprits without fear of upsetting the Paul1405's of this world.
I recall one incident quite a number of years ago when the then 16 year old well known local crim broke into a Bar & defecated at the Bar with a bottle of Whiskey in his hands right in front of the security camera. Everyone who saw the footage recognised him instantly yet he got off. How ? He simply argued that the bloke in the security footage wasn't him. Case closed !
How is something like this possible in our so-called fair & democratic society ?
Posted by individual, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 9:47:25 AM
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If some of these weak jellybellies who don't want people of all ages to take responsibility for their actions had their way, there would be no punishment whatsoever. If horrible children are not punished, they grow into horrible adults. Have a look at the record of most criminals: they don't go bad a set age; most of them have been rotters since they stared walking and talking. Spare the rod and spoil the child.
Posted by ttbn, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 10:13:55 AM
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again it would never be something that people would be given the vote on. The 'elite' have to hide behind very flawed 'studies' backed by experts. Unfortunately the Liberal party are as bad as the regressives.
Posted by runner, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 10:26:27 AM
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ttbn said; "If horrible children are not punished, they grow into horrible adults" there lies the problem, we do punish children through the juvenile justice system, and guess what...they mostly grow into horrible adults.

In my own extended family, after much discussion, if there has not been agreement from the parent(s), children are sometimes removed from problem parent(s) and put with other better equipped family members. Preferring no government involvement, but sometimes that's unavoidable. With the loss of several of their siblings over the years, dealing with these kinds of problems has been left in the hands of my wife and her only remaining brother, along with some other senior members of the extended family, it works for some.
Posted by Paul1405, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 11:21:39 AM
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Hi Paul,

I found an interesting article on the link given below.
It asks:

"Does a ten year old child
really represent such a threat to public safety that
we need to lock them away? Is our justice system so
poorly developed that we have no other solution or
option?"

We're told that - many
studies show that children even well into their teens
haven't yet fully developed the ability to distinguish
rights from wrongs, make careful judgements, delay
gratification, restrain impulsive behaviour, or think
through their actions.

Of course - it is important to make clear that there are
consequences for wrong doing. Our system should surely be
focusing on preventing future crimes, rather than simply
punishing old ones.

Dylan Voller, who was incarcerated at the age of 11, told
the Royal Commission in the Northern Territory that -
"One of the biggest problems we face is the fact that
we're being further punished while in prison".

The final summation of the article put a lump
in my throat when it stated:

"It is time to seriously think about increasing the age of
criminal responsibility and establishing a solid suite of
alternative interventions and pathways to support
children at risk. No 10 year old should be waking up on
Christmas Day in jail".

There's much more at the following:

http://www.humanrights.gov.au/about/news/opinions/jail-answer-australian-kids
Posted by Foxy, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 1:19:04 PM
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Isn't this a bit of a beat-up ? There are juvenile detention facilities, what used to be called reformatories and/or Industrial Schools - so the issue isn''t either/or - jail or freedom.

A close acquaintance had the job of defending Indigenous kids in court, some of whom had histories for multiple offences. One big 12-yr-old girl was up, for the umpteenth time, but in this instance for bashing an old lady and running off with her purse. My friend was instructed to get her off. Another girl was up for robbing another old lady while pushing her pram (i.e. the girl, not the old lady) up the street. I suppose robbery is something you can still do with a baby in your pram, if you pick the right victim. Another kid of fourteen had 48 offences on his sheet.

Clearly, something is not going right even in juvenile facilities. Perhaps no system of correction can compensate for crappy family guidance. So it may come down to whether or not we protect the rest of society from the inevitability of drop-kick kids committing offences and graduating unimpaired into adult criminality.

I'm not sure if I give a toss any more, but if anything, perhaps harsher, more brutal, more punitive, crueller measures may be needed, to save these dumb-arse kids from a life (perhaps a short life) of crime.

Joe
Posted by loudmouth2, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 2:13:06 PM
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the same regressives who want to lower the age of accountability for rape, murder, theft think that the voting age should be lowered.
Posted by runner, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 3:15:29 PM
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No 10 year old should be waking up on
Christmas Day in jail".
Foxy,
No family should wake up on Christmas Day broke, a smashed car, no computer, no sleep for several nights leading up to Christmas following a break-in etc courtesy of 10-14 year olds !
As long as these little piles of crap only sleep in jail without punishment thanks to voters such as yourself, things will only deteriorate further !
Posted by individual, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 3:31:03 PM
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'As long as these little piles of crap only sleep in jail without punishment thanks to voters such as yourself, things will only deteriorate further !'

maybe their parents should be in gaol Individual (oh that's right they probably are)! Didn't Bill Leak get demonised and hounded to death literally for publishing the truth. So nice for the 'elite' to keep their high paid jobs while inflicting misery on the rest of society. Just look what the degenerate democrat mayors have done to America.
Posted by runner, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 4:15:37 PM
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Runner,

Not quite sure what Democratic mayors in the US have to do with Indigenous kids here in jail, but there you go. If one tries hard enough, one can draw the dots between can two phenomena.

Of course, it may be too late for those kids by the time they are well into stupid, petty (and not so petty) criminality. Their idiot and useless parents have already done the damage. The kids are stuffed early.

So perhaps the entire policy of allowing parents to destroy their children should be reviewed. But with the changes that Wyatt has made seem to be in precisely the wrong direction. Am I suggesting that fostering arrangements should be broadened ? Yes, with the criteria not necessarily being 'cultural' (whatever that means) but for the genuine care of the child - which may mean fostering the child out to non-Indigenous parents.

I worked for a time with a lovely student, fostered from a very young age by an elderly non-Indigenous farming couple, who was always happy and enthusiastic, and who graduated as a doctor and worked for fifteen years around Katherine; now very sadly deceased (cancer). Her parents used to turn up for events with their sandwiches. A lovely family. It can work. In fact, it may be one of the only ways which do work.

Joe
Posted by loudmouth2, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 4:30:17 PM
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another 'stolen' generation Joe? I think numerous things could be done to help these kids if the 'elite' did not insist on putting commonsense below culture and overpaid activist and ngo's who profit from keeping alive the dysfunction. Numerous ngo's were willing to stop child abuse in Roeburne WA in recent years.
Posted by runner, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 4:41:00 PM
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'Numerous ngo's were willing to stop child abuse in Roeburne WA in recent years.'

apologies

Numerous ngo's were failed to stop child abuse in Roeburne WA in recent years.
Posted by runner, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 4:42:49 PM
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another 'stolen' generation Joe?

runner,
it's more a case of stolen common sense by our education system & do-gooders etc. !
Posted by individual, Wednesday, 29 July 2020 9:46:08 AM
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I thought Bill Leak's cartoon had the wrong caption. The policeman should have said to the father: 'we'll make your son feel right at home in jail; we'll treat him the same way you have done'. Child offenders need help not punishment, especially punishment for parental neglect. If they are as bad as some of the posts here claim, jail is not going to change them, they will just learn how to be better criminals.
Posted by Cossomby, Wednesday, 29 July 2020 12:14:23 PM
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The elephant in the room is cringing, in disbelief at hearing someone trying to offer suggestions or advice on how to fix an impossible situation.
Those kids who are "good" will not be bad.
Those that are "bad" will very rarely suddenly turn away from the "dark side", and become good.
Sure it has happened, but so rarely, it's better to just ignore it.
Once again my point is made by the usual do-gooders on here.
Just reading, quoting, hoping all things nice and sweet, does absolutely NOTHING in addressing or correcting these 'loose canons'.
I'm not going to dwell, but is anyone aware of the numbers of different cultures and their offences?
Just wondering.
Foxy, Paul, this is one topic you really should not engage in as your views are well known and counter productive in this particular case.
As confirmation Foxy, you recused yourself from this topic in the third last paragraph of your last posting.
If engaging in this type of debate "puts a lump in your throat", it is clear that you should not be commenting on it.
How many times have I said that decisions have to be made objectively and pragmatically, and not subjectively and emotionally.
Until you are prepared to look at the real world and accept what is going on out there, you should not be giving any opinions.
I tell you what, as a first step to learning about the real world, why don't you take in one, just one, of these problem children, as you are so incensed at the idea of them being incarcerated.
Then and only then can you comment with some kind of authority.
As for the rest of us, including myself, we have experienced, both personally, and anecdotally the problems first hand, so let us know how you get on.
I await with great interest and hope, to hear your report on YOUR experience.
Posted by ALTRAV, Wednesday, 29 July 2020 12:35:53 PM
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"I tell you what, as a first step to learning about the real world, why don't you take in one, just one, of these problem children, as you are so incensed at the idea of them being incarcerated."

Are you kidding me?
They would eat her alive in 10 minutes, no wait make that 2.

Ok Scenario: First 2 mins:

Give me some 'effing' money for some smokes you cu$!, and take me up the 'effing' shops!"
2 mins later physical confrontation, Foxy attacked, kicked when she goes down, theft of purse, car keys and vehicle...
Posted by Armchair Critic, Wednesday, 29 July 2020 1:07:12 PM
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No offense intended
Posted by Armchair Critic, Wednesday, 29 July 2020 1:09:30 PM
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I have not heard of any 10 year old kids being in detention. Rarely even 11 years olds, and those few were a danger to the community. If people like Foxy think young boys arenít capable of rape, murder, serious assault then she needs to do more research.
One of the saddest cases I saw in my long nursing career was of a poor, disabled little aboriginal girl who was wheelchair bound, living in a remote community. She was raped by 3 boys who attended the same primary school. None of the boys got sent to detention, they were simply moved to extended families in other communities.
Itís not normal for boys that age to understand the concept of rape, obviously they had either been exposed to porn or been victims themselves, which is appalling in itself, but others in the wider community need to be protected from criminals like this. If no severe punishment occurs, what message do these offending kids get? That itís okay to break the law?
This is what currently happens. Kids get warning after warning after warning. They think court is a big joke. . Then they turn 18 , commit another crime , usually a big one, and end up in prison, screaming about racism and discrimination.
The only way to prevent this is to remove kids from dysfunctional families at a you g age, before they become too damaged.
We have to ignore the cries of stolen generation, and turn that into rescued generation
Posted by Big Nana, Wednesday, 29 July 2020 2:54:35 PM
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thankyou so much Big Nana

you always seem to have the temperament to state the facts and reason without inflaming. Your politically incorrect summary

'We have to ignore the cries of stolen generation, and turn that into rescued generation'

is obvious to anyone who sincerely care about these kids. Unfortunately for the left banning Koon cheese is far more important.
Posted by runner, Wednesday, 29 July 2020 3:11:13 PM
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Hi Big Nanna,

I agree - if parents are so abusive and/or neglectful to the point where obviously their kids are going to become destroyed human beings (and destroy other human beings, mainy women, in the process) in a few short years, then the children should be removed immediately, placed with caring foster-parents (Black or otherwise, it doesn't matter: seriously, no, it doesn't matter) until the parents can show conclusively that they can look after them properly. Conclusively, not just some BS story about how much they love their 'babies'.

Nobody, Black or white, on cultural grounds or otherwise, has the right to abuse or neglect their kids. Bleeding hearts have to ask: "If this was a white kid, would I be so forgiving ? If this was my brother's kid, or my sister's kid, what would I do ?" More crucially, "What SHOULD I do ?"

We may not be our brother's keeper, but surely to Christ we can have some opinion about his treatment of his (or her) kids ? Surely we know that badly-treated kids have a much higher chance of ending up in jail, if they live long enough ? Do we remain silent ?

Joe
Posted by loudmouth2, Wednesday, 29 July 2020 3:33:52 PM
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It would be interesting to know Joe how many of these 'successful' kids that you speak of getting uni degrees have grown up with a loving father and mother bringing them up. I know it is quite often aunties and grandmothers carrying the load (and they do an incredibly difficult job) however often young boys will follow their fathers example.
Posted by runner, Wednesday, 29 July 2020 4:07:58 PM
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We can all talk about the results of the existing system, and state the obvious. Big Nana said;

"This is what currently happens. Kids get warning after warning after warning. They think court is a big joke.(THERE IS SOMETHING MISSING HERE, THE MAGIC YEARS BEFORE 18, SEE BELOW) Then they turn 18 , commit another crime , usually a big one, and end up in prison, screaming about racism and discrimination." (Why are white kids screaming about racism and discrimination, Aboriginals have not been mentioned by me, but then there is your mind set.)

"On an average night in the June quarter 2018, 980 young people were in youth detention. The vast majority (90%) were male, and most (84%) were aged 10Ė17. This equates to a rate of 3.5 young people aged 10Ė17 per 10,000."

Big N went on to say; "THE ONLY WAY to prevent this is to remove kids from dysfunctional families at a young age, before they become too damaged." (My capitals) I question that, sure it is often necessary, but we need to address the root causes of dysfunctional families, and although the majority come from such families, not all.

Thanks Joe, "I agree (and I agree) - if parents are so abusive and/or neglectful to the point where obviously their kids are going to become destroyed human beings (and destroy other human beings, mainly women, in the process) in a few short years, then the children should be removed immediately, placed with caring foster-parents (Black or otherwise, it doesn't matter: seriously, no, it doesn't matter) until the parents can show conclusively that they can look after them properly. Conclusively, not just some BS story about how much they love their 'babies'." Why is seen only as a black problem? There are other dysfunctional groups in society as well.

Joe, I prefer the family solution where possible, that's not always available to a satisfactory point, but caring foster-parents, and they are hard to find, is the next best alternative. But we must not give up on the systemic problems that are the root cause.
Posted by Paul1405, Wednesday, 29 July 2020 5:42:42 PM
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(Why are white kids screaming about racism and discrimination,
Paul1405,
Maybe because they're copping racism & discrimination ? I have witnessed that on a number of occasions first hand. It's not uncommon when they're in the minority !
Posted by individual, Wednesday, 29 July 2020 6:47:04 PM
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"Nobody, Black or white, on cultural grounds or otherwise, has the right to abuse or neglect their kids.

What are you going to do when the 14yo kid says this:
"Do you know how easy it would be for me to go get my gun and shoot you?"

And what do you do when the police come and are looking for that firearm that's supposedly in his possession?
- And can't find it?

- The bad you may have known, are like angels to the bad of today.
Posted by Armchair Critic, Wednesday, 29 July 2020 7:13:09 PM
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Isn't it absurd when a 6 year old gets admired for playing a piano etc. & is regarded as so way above others yet when a 14 year old commits a crime he's regarded (not by sane people I might add) as not fully understanding of his actions ?
If the culprits don't really know what they're doing is wrong, why then do they run away & then lie about it all ?
Juvenile detention with internet access, gym facilities, excellent food etc. is not the answer , juvenile detention with discipline & work & basic food will help change their ways !
Parents too need to be allowed to discipline their wayward kids. Any sociologist or other do-gooders should help compensate victims.
Posted by individual, Thursday, 30 July 2020 9:59:06 AM
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Trying to educate or control people is like trying to herd cats.
Trying to think up another of an already long list of ideas and attempts at fixing an un-fixable and broken system is like the definition of insane, which is, someone doing the same thing again and again, expecting a different result.
I ask, what if we were allowed to discipline our children, and I mean by the only method which has shown some semblance of success in the past, AND, at the same time killing any vestiges of PC.
What I'm suggesting will not be popular with this new breed of air headed do-gooders, too gutless to entertain anything they perceive as uncomfortable.
Yes I mean getting physical!
The more recalcitrant and anti-social, the harder the physicality of the punishment.
Those who retaliate even more, will end up as career criminals, they will learn nothing and their arrogance and obstinance will eventually land them in jail, and if so, so be it.
The rest can be turned and set on a path of social acceptance.
Imagine for a moment, if we were all allowed to carry guns, concealed or otherwise.
Those criminals with no respect for life would be no different than those of today.
Those who are of the general criminal element/level will reconsider their criminal ways, knowing they can be KILLED at a moments notice, and for very little reason.
Now I know it sounds like a radical, or worse idea, I for one as an oldie would feel a lot safer, and the crims would think twice about agitating an oldie in future.
Yes, yes, I know the idea is ridiculous, BUT, is it?
This was once the norm and the kind of environment I grew in as well as my peers, and it's done me no harm, not that I was a career criminal.
The Catholic school system also advocated corporal punishment, once upon a time.
Posted by ALTRAV, Thursday, 30 July 2020 11:39:15 AM
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ALTRAV,
You & I stated something factual because the do-gooders aren't hitting back ?
Posted by individual, Saturday, 1 August 2020 8:23:20 AM
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