On 15 September 2021, Mr Michael Berkman MP, Member for Maiwar, introduced the Criminal Law (Raising the Age of Responsibility) Amendment Bill 2021 into the Queensland Parliament. The Bill was referred to the Community Support and Services Committee for detailed consideration and report.
The objective of the Bill is to ensure that children under 14 years of age are not incarcerated or otherwise punished under the criminal legal system, consistent with current medical understanding of child development and contemporary human rights standards. The Bill aims to achieve this objective by raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility in Queensland from 10 to 14 years old and transferring any children under 14 years old out of custody. The Bill also aims to negate the consequences of prior offending by children while under the age of 14, including, for example, the creation of records in relation to such offending.
For more information, view the 76 written submissions sent to the Committee. It is noted that 75 of the 76 written submissions state support for raising the age of criminal responsibility. As one submission was lodged ‘confidentially’ and therefore not published, the position stated within this submission is not known.
PeakCare’s submission concludes with this statement:
PeakCare strongly encourages the Committee when considering the proposed Bill to look at the overwhelming evidence which supports the age being raised to 14 and the paucity of credible evidence supporting it being retained at 10. If the Committee does recommend the age of criminal responsibility be retained at its current level, we respectfully ask that the Committee in its report to Parliament details the contemporary peer-reviewed evidence used to inform this position as we have not been able to find any.