Alternative diversion model for children under the raised age of criminal responsibility

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We want to hear your views on a proposed alternative diversion model for children under the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

What's being decided?

We are considering raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) to 12. A number of other jurisdictions across the country have raised or have committed to raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

In line with this, we are seeking feedback on a new model that would replace the existing criminal justice process for those children who engage in behaviour that would otherwise have been a criminal offence.

The alternative diversion model would include a three-tier response that increases in intensity depending on the child's behaviour and their needs. It would be restorative, culturally led, trauma-informed and include professional developed and led diversionary programs.

For certain serious offences, there would limited exceptions that would apply to children aged between 10-11 years, allowing them to be prosecuted for offences like murder, manslaughter, rape or causing serious harm.

Background

The minimum age of criminal responsibility in South Australia is currently 10 years of age.

This means children under the age of 10 cannot be held criminally responsible, and cannot be charged with a criminal offence.

There have been significant evidence-based research findings in child development and neuroscience that support raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

Raising the MACR may be seen by some as allowing children to engage in harmful behaviour with no consequences.

Introducing an alternative diversion model would mitigate this risk by making sure harmful behaviour is dealt with in an effective way. Support and services would be provided to the child to prevent the harmful behaviour from happening again. This will lead to a better outcome for both the child and the safety of the community.

The safety of the community is one of the Government's top priorities. The discussion paper deals specifically with the proposed model, but supporting victims of harmful behaviour by a child is an integral part of the reforms. Victims are proposed to be included in action plans, where appropriate, and the existing access to victims of crime compensation is to be preserved.

Get involved

Find out more:

Have your say by:

What are the next steps?

Your feedback will help us to finalise the draft model and contribute to new legislation that would bring it into effect.

We want to hear your views on a proposed alternative diversion model for children under the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

What's being decided?

We are considering raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) to 12. A number of other jurisdictions across the country have raised or have committed to raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

In line with this, we are seeking feedback on a new model that would replace the existing criminal justice process for those children who engage in behaviour that would otherwise have been a criminal offence.

The alternative diversion model would include a three-tier response that increases in intensity depending on the child's behaviour and their needs. It would be restorative, culturally led, trauma-informed and include professional developed and led diversionary programs.

For certain serious offences, there would limited exceptions that would apply to children aged between 10-11 years, allowing them to be prosecuted for offences like murder, manslaughter, rape or causing serious harm.

Background

The minimum age of criminal responsibility in South Australia is currently 10 years of age.

This means children under the age of 10 cannot be held criminally responsible, and cannot be charged with a criminal offence.

There have been significant evidence-based research findings in child development and neuroscience that support raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

Raising the MACR may be seen by some as allowing children to engage in harmful behaviour with no consequences.

Introducing an alternative diversion model would mitigate this risk by making sure harmful behaviour is dealt with in an effective way. Support and services would be provided to the child to prevent the harmful behaviour from happening again. This will lead to a better outcome for both the child and the safety of the community.

The safety of the community is one of the Government's top priorities. The discussion paper deals specifically with the proposed model, but supporting victims of harmful behaviour by a child is an integral part of the reforms. Victims are proposed to be included in action plans, where appropriate, and the existing access to victims of crime compensation is to be preserved.

Get involved

Find out more:

Have your say by:

What are the next steps?

Your feedback will help us to finalise the draft model and contribute to new legislation that would bring it into effect.

Page last updated: 19 Feb 2024, 03:38 PM