Rather than wait for a national agreement, Tasmania should "lead the way" and increase the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14, the state's Commissioner for Children and Young People believes.
Leanne McLean will join a forum later this month to discuss how Tasmania could move ahead of the national curve, including what types of wrap around health, mental health, education and diversionary programs could replace the criminal justice system for children aged under 14.
Attorneys-General from across Australia met in July to discuss the matter, and chose to carry out further consultation rather than raise the age under a national agreement.
Tasmanian Attorney-General Elise Archer believed a national approach should be developed, rather than states and territories going it alone.
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Ms McLean said that, at the moment, police were the first responders when a child aged 10 or above was involved in "harmful or risky behaviour", but if the age was raised to 14, a different approach would be needed.
"We have to make sure that we have an appropriate welfare response in place. That response needs to be substantially more than what we can offer now," she said.
"We would need a complex case management process, wrap around support in health, education, mental health and we'd certainly need far more diversionary and support programs."
The ACT and New Zealand are believed to be undertaking a process to raise the age.
Ms McLean said there was an opportunity for Tasmania to take the lead.
"A national model would be an ideal path forward, but in the absence of that, I think Tasmania - being a small state with relatively low numbers of young children in the youth justice system - has an opportunity to lead the way and provide alternative approaches and raise the age," she said.
Ms Archer reiterated the Tasmanian Government's position, with the matter still being examined.
"Tasmania believes that any reform in this area should ideally be progressed in a nationally consistent manner," she said.
The forum - part of the Island of Ideas lecture series - includes Aboriginal elder Rodney Dillon, former Chief Magistrate Michael Hill, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Donna Adams and more.
It will be held at UTAS in Hobart at 5pm on February 25.
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