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SA Must Follow Tasmania on Raising Age of Criminal Responsibility

8 December 2023

The SA Greens are urging the South Australian Government to commit to raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14 following today’s news that Tasmania will become the first state or territory in Australia to raise the age without any exceptions or carve-outs.

“The Northern Territory and the ACT have both raised the age of criminal responsibility to 12 earlier this year, and the ACT and Victoria have also committed to raising the age to 14 in the near future. While other jurisdictions across the nation are undertaking this vital reform to make communities safer and reduce harm to vulnerable children, here in South Australia children as young as ten years old continue to languish in prisons, exposing them to trauma and harm and pushing them down a path that often leads to adult prison,” said Greens Justice Spokesperson Robert Simms MLC.

“The State Government must show leadership by committing to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years of age and shift their approach away from the cruel practice of locking away vulnerable children to diversion and rehabilitation programs that help children get their lives back on track.”

Mr Simms has a Bill before parliament to raise the age of criminal responsibility in South Australia from 10 to 14. Last year, a petition with more than 11,000 signatures was presented to Attorney-General Kyam Maher in support of the reform.