CRG 41/20-21 Children aged 10 to 13 in the justice system

This study sought to generate new knowledge about children aged 10 to 13 years who are charged with offending, including their characteristics and support needs, the application of doli incapax provisions with this group, and their offending, criminal justice outcomes and trajectories. The study analysed data from national criminal justice statistics, Victoria Police and Children’s Court, a sample of doli incapax assessment reports, and consultations with professionals. The findings indicate that the alleged and proven offending of 10–13-year-olds is predominantly non-violent and time-limited, and this is particularly the case for younger children in this cohort. The study also identified significant opportunities to improve early therapeutic and social support interventions for children aged 10 to 13 years who have alleged offending and concluded that the legal presumption of doli incapax should be applied, interpreted and recorded in a more consistent and rigorous manner by police, clinicians undertaking doli incapax assessments, and the Children’s Court.