2nd March 2023
Interesting to see what happens, now that the idea of raising the age of criminal intent to fourteen years is facing scrutiny, even before it is introduced.
An idea that sounds wonderful in theory but fails the young people it seeks to benefit.
As reported on the 24th of February 2023 by the Herald Sun, a group of young offenders have been arrested, including boys under fourteen.
A 13-year-old faces nine charges, including attempted aggravated burglary, theft of a motor vehicle, affray, unlawful assault, burglary, theft, robbery, failure to answer Bail and committing an indictable offence while on Bail.
A 12-year-old boy is facing charges including theft of a motor vehicle, affray, robbery, shop theft, and committing an indictable offence while on Bail.
These are not isolated incidents and happen all too frequently.
The questions we have for the Premier are –
- How will you deal with young violent thugs when you lift the age to fourteen? Will Police have no power to arrest once their age is established?
- Having established their age, then what do the Police do with them? Put them back on the street to offend again?
- What happens to the Police Cautioning Program that has served the State so well and is by far and away the most used and effective sanction when Police deal with young offenders? The caution will no longer be able to be offered in lieu of prosecution.
- What are you going to tell the Victims – the offences committed by these young thugs hurt the Victim just as much, irrespective of the age of the perpetrator? Just because they were assaulted by a twelve-year-old, the damage is no less painful.
- And what happens to the young perpetrator that will dissuade them from offending again?
- What liability does the State carry for a failure to ensure the safety of the young perpetrators? It would seem a lot. There would be a ‘hue and cry’ if a young penetrator was seriously injured while committing a crime where the State failed, in their duty of care, to intervene in the childs criminal endeavours.
- What protection is offered to victims of violent sex offenders in this cohort?
- And of greatest concern is what happens when a young person in this cohort commits murder. It can and does happen.
- If a young person is accused of a serious crime, that accusation may not leave them, which is particularly brutal if the child is innocent.
- How do you propose to teach young people that there are consequences for unlawful acts?
The argument for the necessity of this move is not based on facts and will eliminate the option for a Police caution for children under fourteen.
“Of 5981 young people alleged to have committed an offence 56% received a caution, 45% were charged.
Consistent with the findings of previous studies, young people who were cautioned were less likely to re-offend than those charged. The current study also found a longer duration between the index incident and their first reoffending incident for cautioned young people as opposed to those charged.”
This government proposal has been suggested by people with little or no idea of the psyche of young people of this age.
- If arrested, being sent home will be interpreted as, winning and beating the system.
- Time for young people is now; no matter what they are told, if intercepted by the Police, they will immediately return to the social set that got them into criminality. (One of the great advantages leading to the success of the Police Cautioning Program is that it can be delivered in close time proximity to the offending, having a greater impact than a Court case some many months after the event from which the child has long moved on both in maturity and socially.)
- These same young people are hazardous to the community because they have no concept of the consequences of their actions on victims.
- The concept of Bail is also seen as them beating the system. They do not ignore the Bail but do not grasp what it means.
What is very obviously deficient in this proposal is what it intends to achieve.
Called progressive socialism, it is a concept heavy on the narrow emotive argument, a subjective bias of the perpetrator’s age, and sadly lacking in effectiveness.
Premier, if you want community support, please explain how you will reduce the suffering of Victims and how this proposal will benefit young people and steer them from a life of crime.
Avoiding consequences at that age, will instead ensure they become entrenched in a life of crime.