Name and shame law for juvenile offenders slammed

FEAR is spreading that young criminals may rebel against new laws which will see them named and shamed after the first offence.

Juveniles as young as 10 will now have their crimes permanently recorded.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie said the community had grown sick of the revolving door of repeat juvenile offenders.

"Our reforms are tough but necessary," Mr Bleijie said.

But two juvenile justice experts on the Sunshine Coast believe the new law will only make the matter worse.

University of the Sunshine Coast psychology lecturer Rachael Sharman said the law had "huge" potential to backfire.

"These kids are not taught normal family values, such as guilt, remorse and shame," Dr Sharman said.

"They would not understand the massive repercussions this would have on their lives later on."

Maroochydore United Synergies health and wellbeing manager Donna Allen said no positive outcome could come of the new law.

"We know young people rank among the most socially disadvantaged in the community, but by increasing the punity outcomes from young people rather than targeting early intervention is going to have a less effective outcome," Ms Allen said.

More than 400 young Queenslanders have been charged with more than 7000 offences while on bail in the past year.

Mr Bleijie has announced four other new child laws, which include:

  • A new offence for breaching bail, which carries a maximum one-year detention.
  • Making all juvenile criminal histories available in adult courts.
  • Removing detention as a last resort to give the court more discretion during sentencing.
  • Transferring juvenile offenders to adult correctional centres when they reach 17 years of age if they have six or more months of their sentence remaining.

Dr Sharman said the only way to solve juvenile justice was to change child protection legislation.

"Take early action and sort these kids out early," she said. "Their lives can be changed, but this name and shame legislation is not going to do that."


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