Act now: raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility

Thomas Crofts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There has been a long-standing debate throughout Australia about the age at which a child should be subjected to criminal proceedings for wrongful behaviour. In February 2019, an Attorneys-General Working Group was formed with the task of reviewing the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) and making recommendations for reform across Australia. So far, no decision has been made about whether and to what age the MACR should be raised. Now individual jurisdictions are pushing for change rather than waiting for a uniform national approach. This article examines the ongoing debate in Australia and considers what reforms should be undertaken in relation to the MACR. It endorses states and territories acting individually to raise the MACR to at least 14 but preferably higher. It also proposes that if the MACR is raised only to 12 or 14 there is a need for doli incapax or some other defence for older children.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalCurrent Issues in Criminal Justice
Early online date10 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Nov 2022

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