Qld Parliament fails our children again
Youth Affairs Network of Queensland (YANQ) has slammed the Parliament’s Community Support and Services Committee report released earlier today in which it recommended that Criminal Law (Raising the Age of Responsibility) Amendment Bill 2021 not be passed. “In light of the overwhelming evidence presented to the committee, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that they are playing politics with the lives of Queensland children and this in our view is a form of child abuse” said Siyavash Doostkhah, Director of YANQ.
All of the 300+ written submissions to the review were in support of the proposed amendments to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years of age but the committee then invited the head of the police union and a previous police commissioner to give evidence at public hearing and amplifying their ill-informed views in their report.
Further, despite all the evidence presented that pointed the finger at lack of funding support for youth services, the Committee did not recommend that the Government adequately fund such supports services and this in our view is a form of child neglect” said Mr Doostkhah. “It is inconceivable that in this day and age, in a country as wealthy as Australia is, that the only place some children could experience having three meals a day, medical check up, dental care, supportive education tailored to their needs is in a prison”.
Mr Doostkhah went on to say “Where is the voice for vulnerable children in Queensland Government? What hope does a 10-year-old child locked in a dark cold cell have that someone in the Queensland Government would care about them?”
YANQ’s submission had stated that “If we are to gain broad support from the community for bringing an end to the shameful approach of incarcerating disadvantaged people, we need to demonstrate what can really reduce the engagement in criminal activity in the first place. This requires a total shift in policy and program design, development and implementation of a genuine whole of government children and youth strategy, significant redirection of investment into the primary prevention area and support for the Queensland youth sector to undertake the necessary work”.
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