We advocate for the interests, rights and wellbeing of children and young people

Position brief: It's time to stop criminalising children under 14


2 October 2019

This document lays out the position of the Office of the Children's Commissioner on the criminal age of responsibility.

Children are children and have the right to be treated as such, regardless of how they behave. When children engage in harmful behaviour there are always complex causes at play. Raising the age of criminal responsibility would acknowledge that dealing with the root causes of harmful behaviour supports children to move on from harmful behaviour. It would also lessen the odds of that behaviour being repeated.

At a minimum, the age of criminal responsibility should be raised to 14 and we encourage discussions about a higher minimum age.

Read the full position brief below.


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