Jailing young children does not keep communities safe, with more support for community services and communities needed, the state’s peak social services body says.

Queensland Council of Social Service CEO Aimee McVeigh welcomes the comments made by Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman at the Queensland Media Club yesterday, about looking at Tasmania’s recent decision to raise the minimum age of detention from 10 to 14.

“Queenslanders are right to want to feel safe in their own communities. The best way to reduce youth crime is to invest in services so the police and the criminal justice system are not picking up the pieces of a broken system.

“The Queensland Government and community services know what works to reduce youth crime and it is not jailing 10 to 13-year-olds,” Ms McVeigh said.

“Governments have been underfunding community services that could prevent youth crime for decades. We need more money for youth services and more support for communities – not more sentences.”

McVeigh said that young children should never be treated as criminals and the age of criminal responsibility should be raised to 14 in Queensland.

“Medical evidence and international standards show that 14 is the absolute minimum age that all governments should set the minimum age of detention. Prison is immensely harmful for children aged 10 to 13. While the Queensland Government is currently considering raising the age to 12, this is not enough.

“Children under 14 are still undergoing important brain development, especially in relation to judgement. Evidence shows that 10 to 13-year-olds in Australian jails often have a very different mental health and neurodevelopmental profile than children who aren’t in jail.”

15 June 2022 |Service type: