Contact with the youth justice system
The majority of children in WA have little or no contact with the youth justice system. However, there is a small cohort of children who experience significant challenges and disadvantage, which can lead them into regular or ongoing contact with the justice system. It is essential that coordinated early intervention and the delivery of therapeutic programs and supports to address the underlying causes of offending are implemented to divert children away from the justice system.
Children and young people aged 10 to 17 years can be charged under the WA Criminal Code. The Australian and New Zealand Children’s Commissioners and Guardians (ANZCCG) recommend governments in Australia and New Zealand raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years, consistent with international standards.1 Children who come into contact with the justice system before 14 years of age are less likely to complete their education or find employment and are more likely to reoffend and move into the criminal justice system as adults.2
Data on children and young people in contact with the youth justice system is reported under the Contact with the youth justice system indicator for the 12 to 17 years age group.
- Australia and New Zealand's Children's Commissioner and Guardians Group (ANZCCG), ANZCCG Communique - Meeting 11 and 12 November 2019, ANZCCG.
- Sentencing Advisory Council 2016, Reoffending by Children and Young People in Victoria, Victorian Government, p. 26.