Jesuit Social Services was pleased to provide feedback on the Northern Territory Government’s consultation to increase the minimum age of criminal responsibility – a landmark reform that will be life-changing for some of the Territory’s most vulnerable children.
We commend the Government for progressing the important recommendation from the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 12. However we believe the Government can and should go further and raise the age to 14 years.
Our submission is grounded in our experience in the Northern Territory providing restorative, therapeutic and practical support to young people in the justice system. We strongly believe that prison should only ever be used as a last resort, and that community-based responses must be available to help children take responsibility for their actions and engage them in positive pathways.