RACP Annual Report 2022
© 2023 The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Goal Five
Raise the Age
Raisethe Age.jpg
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Raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility provides an opportunity to address the crisis levels of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the justice system and advocate to reduce the harm to all young people incarcerated. Currently, children as young as 10 are in prison right across Australia - with exception to the ACT.
In November, the College led the charge on raising the age of criminal responsibility with an open letter signed by 11 other Medical Colleges calling on the Council of Attorneys-General to release a report into raising the age of criminal responsibility.
In addition to raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14, the open letter also said a national taskforce must be established to address the issues plaguing youth incarceration.
RACP President Dr Jacqueline Small told media “It is a disgrace that children under 14 in Australia are still being locked up and this flies in the face of all medical evidence and advice.
“Children between the ages of 10 and 13 years old do not have the developmental maturity and decision-making skills to be held criminally responsible, and we know that many of the children in youth incarceration have suffered from trauma or have developmental disabilities that impair their decision-making skills.”
The College drove this issue in the media and through many engagements with government throughout the year, with over 300 media hits on this issue in 2022. The College’s advocacy on raising the age of criminal responsibility featured in media coverage in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Croakey, 9 News, The West Australian, 2GB and the ABC.
Images above credit: Nine News and AAP.
Link to article: Call to raise the Age