A better path, a safer future. How do we raise the age of criminal responsibility?

A joint seminar with the UNSW Centre for Crime, Law and Justice (CCLJ) and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).

Right now, in every Australian state and territory, children as young as ten can be arrested, charged and sent to jail. This is despite decades of medical, social and legal research highlighting the harm this causes.

While the available evidence strongly supports increasing the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 14 years, the ACT Government is the only government in Australia to have made this commitment.

What is needed to drive reform in NSW – and across the country? What principles should guide the creation of a replacement for the youth justice system for young children? What services would be required? And how do we embrace local community-based programs that focus on health, education and family support?

This webinar will draw on the ACT’s leadership in this area, recent research by the UNSW Centre for Crime, Law and Justice, and lessons from the Maranguka Project (Bourke, NSW).

After hearing from each panelist individually, the chair and moderator of the webinar Jonathon Hunyor (CEO PIAC) will direct his questions to the panel, before fielding questions from the audience via the chat function.


Morag McArthur (Emeritus Professor, Australian Catholic University and founding Director of the Institute of Child Protection Studies)

Morag McArthur has over 30 years of research and teaching experience in social work, public policy and child welfare. She recently completed, with colleagues from Curijo and the ANU, a system review for the ACT government in preparation for raising the age of criminal responsibility.

Vivianne Prince (Backbone Coordinator, Maranguka Project)

Vivianne’s role at Maranguka is to facilitate and support the cross-sector collaboration and learning needed to achieve the community’s goals in the Growing our Kids Up Safe, Smart Strong strategy.

Luke McNamara (Professor and Co-Director of the Centre for Crime, Law and Justice, UNSW)

Luke McNamara researches and teaches criminal law and criminalisation. He is a co-author of CCLJ’s report, Replacing the Youth Justice System for Children Aged 10-13 Years in NSW: A ‘Best Interests’ Response (2021).

Chair: Jonathon Hunyor (Chief Executive Officer, Public Interest Advocacy Centre)

Jonathon has been the CEO of PIAC since August 2016. He has over 22 years’ experience working a lawyer in NSW and the Northern Territory in areas including discrimination and human rights, migration and refugee law, Aboriginal land rights, criminal law, and coronial inquests.


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