Project status: In progress

How you had YourSay

The ACT Government is considering how a higher minimum age of criminal responsibility could be implemented in the ACT, and developed a Discussion Paper for community comment.

Canberrans were asked to provide feedback on the the questions set out in the Discussion Paper by Thursday 5 August 2021.

In providing input, we encouraged you to consider the following questions and write a brief summary of your suggestions:

  • Should there be any exemptions or exceptions to the new minimum age of criminal responsibility for children and young people that engage in repeated or very serious harmful behaviours?
  • What services should be introduced, reoriented or expanded to support children and young people who demonstrate harmful behaviours?
  • How should children and young people under the minimum age of criminal responsibility be supported before, during and after crisis points?
  • How should this reform consider the rights of victims?

We are looking at

Across Australia, the minimum age of criminal responsibility is 10 years. This means that children as young as 10 can be charged, convicted and incarcerated for a criminal offence.

Exposing children and young people to the criminal justice system can have a significant impact on their neurological and social development, and can result in life-long interactions with the justice system.

Following the 2020 election, the ACT Government committed to raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

When increasing the age we can provide options for therapeutic and restorative care to reduce children and young people's interaction with the criminal justice system.

As part of this planning, the ACT Government committed $120,000 towards an independent review led by Emeritus Professor Morag McArthur in 2021. The review's Final Report identified service system changes to support children and young people when the minimum age is raised. The independent review's Final Report was released by the ACT Government on Monday 11 October 2021.

These findings complement the community feedback we received on the Discussion Paper. You can find the Listening Report on the feedback here.

We will use your views to

Comments we received from the community and from the independent review will guide the ACT Government's approach to raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

In November 2021, a Listening Report has been published as well as the Submissions on the Discussion Paper unless privacy was requested.


Please note the Justice and Community Safety Directorate retains the right to withhold input from publication if it believes that the content is defamatory, offensive, contravenes anti-discrimination or anti-vilification law or otherwise breaches any law.