The minimum age of criminal responsibility in Victoria (Australia): Examining stakeholders’ views and the need for principled reform

Wendy O'Brien, Kate Fitz-Gibbon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In Australia, children as young as 10 are charged, convicted and sentenced for breaches of the law. Drawing on interviews with youth justice professionals in Victoria, this study finds that inconsistencies in practice undermine the extent to which the common law presumption of doli incapax offers an effective legal safeguard for very young children in conflict with the law. This article advocates that the Australian minimum age of criminal responsibility be increased to 14, that the principle of doli incapax be applied consistently to all persons under the age of 18 and that justice responses be supplanted by therapeutic supports for children and families.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-152
Number of pages19
JournalYouth Justice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • youth justice
  • child offenders
  • children's rights
  • doli incapax
  • human rights
  • minimum age of criminal responsibility

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