Raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility

Submission to COAG – a review of the age of criminal responsibility

The Justice Health Unit at CAH, MCRI and the University of Melbourne have made a submission to a review of the criminal age of responsibility in Australia, which is being undertaken by the Council of Attorneys General (COAG). Australia has one of the lowest ages of criminal responsibility in the world: children as young as ten can currently be arrested, convicted of crimes, and imprisoned. This is contrary to evidence on child health and development, as well as directions from the United Nations.

In the submission, researchers Dr Kathryn Snow, Dr Jesse Young, Dr Rohan Borschmann, Louise Southalan, Prof Susan Sawyer, Prof Stuart Kinner argue that no child under 16 years old should be detained in the criminal justice system, and provide recommendations to for an alternative approach to youth justice in Australia. The submission sets out the arguments for raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years old.

Read the submission here.



The Centre for Adolescent Health is proud to join with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, fellow human rights organisations and doctors to call for federal, state and territory governments to #RaiseTheAge of criminal responsibility from just 10 years old to at least 14.

Children need care, love and support. Not handcuffs and prisons. Further information can be found on the #RaiseTheAge website.

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