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Former detective warns against raising age of criminal responsibility



Former homicide detective Mick Hughes says "you would have to be an idiot" to consider raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 in Victoria. 

It comes after premier Daniel Andrews indicated the state government would look at reform this term, even in the absence of national consensus on the issue.

As it stands, children between the ages of 10 and 14 can be subject to criminal proceedings and imprisoned if found guilty.

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However, Hughes said the move "defies all logic" and has warned against any such reform.

"I just cannot get my head around it," he said on the Neil Mitchell Asks Why podcast.

"There are other things we need to do, but not that."

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A parliamentary inquiry handed down in 2022 recommended that the minimum age of criminal responsibility be raised to 14 in Victoria without exception.

And a draft report from The Council of Attorneys-General found Australia's minimum age of criminal responsibility is among the lowest in OECD nations.

But Hughes said his experience tells a different story.

"I've seen kid killers," he said.

"I think that's something that should be off the table.

"I don't want to see juvenile kids in hard lock-up, that's the last thing I want to see, but we need better solutions.

"We need good-minded people sitting down and saying 'what can we do better'."

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Victoria Police has become the first police force in Australia to trial a new tool which will try to better protect victims of stalking.

In 2022 the Northern Territory became the first jurisdiction to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12.

The ACT will also raise the age to 12 later this year, and then to 14 in 2025.

The United Nations recommends the minimum age for criminal responsibility as 14 and has urged Australia to follow this finding.

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