What new actions are the police taking to ‘crackdown’ on youth crime in Queensland?
You may have taken notice of the influx in youth crime spreading through the nation. In Queensland, there has been a crackdown on serious youth crime, police say, with efforts being continual.
This current state of frequent youth crime has many questioning the legal repercussions youth offenders face. What are the maximum charges set when it comes to juvenile crime? What new actions are the police taking to ‘crackdown’ on youth crime in Queensland?
Laying Down the Law
The youth or juvenile justice system deals with juvenile/child offenders or defendants – dictating the relevant procedures, penalties, and sentences and is regulated by the Youth Justice Act 1992 (Qld).
Children under the age of ten in Queensland are considered not responsible for their actions, and therefore cannot be charged with a criminal offence.
Juvenile’s aged 10 to 13 cannot be found guilty unless there is explicit evidence proving that the child knew what was wrong at the time of the offence. The Prosecutor is responsible for proving that the juvenile knew that their actions at the time of the offence were wrong.
Young persons aged 14 to 16 will be dealt with as a child in the juvenile justice system.
In 2021, there were amendments made to this act in an attempt to hold repeat offenders accountable.
Strengthening Repeat Youth Offender Accountability
The amendments to the Youth Justice Act 1992 made in 2021 have started taking effect.
The 2021 amendments include:
Limited presumption of bail introduced for a particular set of offences (such as unauthorised use of a motor vehicle where the child is driving, dangerous driving, attempted robbery and assault);
Introduced time limit provision of two years for GPS monitoring for offenders aged 16+ charged with particular offences;
Bail decision-makers to assess willingness or ableness of parent or guardian to support the child on bail;
Clarification on the existing provision that a juvenile cannot remain in custody purely because of lack of family support or proper accommodation;
What Happens for A Young Person Accused of Crime?
As outlined in the Youth Justice Act 1992, the police consider alternatives to proceeding against the child in circumstances where the offence is not a serious offence. They must assess whether it would be more appropriate to do one of the following:
take no action;
administer a caution to the child;
refer the offence to the chief executive for a restorative justice process;
if the offence is a minor drug offence, and the child is offered a place in the Drug Diversion Program instead of facing charges, to offer the child that opportunity;
if the offence is a graffiti offence, and the child is offered an opportunity to attend a graffiti removal program, to offer the child that opportunity.
What Can You Do?
If your child is facing a criminal charge in Queensland and is going through the Children’s Court, it is important to be aware of the rights of your child when seeking the correct legal representation.
Further, if you are a young person seeking assistance in a criminal proceeding, for immediate assistance call our 24/7 hotline on 1800 2746 3529 or click here for more information.