While welcoming some of the reforms in the Children and Justice Legislation Amendment (Youth Justice Reform) Bill 2017, which would affect the Crimes Act 1958, the Children Youth and Families Act 2005 and the Sentencing Act 1991, the Commission is concerned that some provisions in the Bill raise significant human rights considerations under Victoria's Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities (the Charter).
The Commission made its submission to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee, which reviews all proposed legislation and must report to Parliament whether the Bill is incompatible with the Charter.
The Commission acknowledges that the Victorian Government wishes to address community concerns about serious crimes committed by children and young people, as well as the desire to improve the safety and security of youth justice facilities.
However, of specific concern are provisions in the Bill that would affect children’s right to protection in their best interests, their right to a procedure that takes account of their age and the desirability of promoting their rehabilitation, their right to equality, cultural rights, the right to privacy, the right to be treated with humanity and dignity when deprived of liberty, and the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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