17 year olds and the criminal justice system…..success at last!!!

Queenslanders who are 17 years old are subject to the adult criminal justice system, in breach of Australia’s obligations as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) – even though they cannot vote or legally buy alcohol or tobacco products.

Queensland is the only Australian state or territory where this happens.


Following decades of lobbying by YAC and other youth focussed organisations the Queensland government has now committed to including 17 year olds in the youth justice system.  The government recently introduced legislation which will mean that 18 will be the threshold for a young person to be treated as an adult in the criminal justice system.  This will mean that protections which 17 year old young people do not currently have in terms of their engagement with police and court processes will finally be available to them.  This change will bring Queensland into line with all other states and territories in Australia and is in compliance with its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Provided the Youth Justice and Other Legislation (Inclusion of 17 Year Old Persons)  Amendment Bill is passed by Parliament all 17 year olds in Queensland will be included in the Youth Justice System by the end of 2017.  Keep watching our website and Facebook to stay informed about the progress of the legislation and to lend your ongoing support.

Here is the story of how this finally came about, told by Damien Atkinson, YAC’s Chair.

See also:

Hear Shane Duffy, CEO, ATSILS (Qld) speak with Ellen Fanning on ABC Radio National breakfast.

Hear Damien Atkinson speak with Steve Austin on ABC 612 mornings.