WACOSS has welcomed a motion that today passed the WA Labor conference calling for justice reform to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14, in line with international standards.

WACOSS CEO Louise Giolitto congratulated WA Labor for taking a proactive approach to justice reform in line with international best practice and welcomed the commitment to raise the age of criminal responsibility.

“In last month’s state budget, Premier and Treasurer Mark McGowan made a commitment towards funding the continuation of successful early intervention and prevention programs like the Olabud Doogethu justice reinvestment site in Halls Creek and the expansion of Home-Stretch for young people transitioning out out-of-home care to independence,” Ms Giolitto said.

“Extending foster-care services up to the age of 21 is a great example of preventative policy that works and will ultimately change the lives of young people for the better; by supporting people early through community-based services, we can ensure they are able to thrive. It is important that the State continues to identify and invest into other similar successful initiatives so they too can sustain long term outcomes.

“We know that these programs have a proven track record of diverting children and young people away from the justice system and reducing crime.

“In WA more than 70 per cent of children who are currently in detention are First Nations children, so raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14, in line with international standards is the logical next step towards justice reform in Western Australia and we congratulate WA Labor for making this commitment at their state conference today.”

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