Monday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

With Offence-Appropriate Penalties, State’s Juvenile Justice System on the Right Track, Adelaide Now

In South Australia, children and youths under 18 who are charged with criminal offences are dealt with under the Young Offenders Act. Australia is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires that the best interests of the child be the primary consideration when dealing with young offenders. That legal obligation reflects [the] commonsense understanding that it takes time for a child to grow into the responsibilities of an adult. The Young Offenders Act recognises this, and its first object includes providing “for youths who offend against the criminal law the care, correction and guidance necessary for their development into responsible and useful members of the community”. The Act’s next objects recognise the community’s interests: “a youth should be made aware of his or her obligations under the law and of the consequences of breach of the law”, and “the community, and individual members of it, must be adequately protected against violent or wrongful acts”.The court, and the police, must balance the interests of the child with the interests of the community and victims. They do that by experience, and by a range of responses to youth offending, ranging from practical cautions for minor offences to full-blown trials and subsequent sentencing.

Police Treatment of 17-year-old Suspects Challenged in High Court, The Guardian

The charity Just for Kids Law argues that children under the age of 18 should be treated as juveniles in line with UN convention on children’s rights.

Fighting Truancy in Chicago Schools: A Score Card on Strategies, Chicago Tribune

Chronic truancy adjudication: Illinois law authorizes school districts to hold truancy hearings at which a hearing officer can require the student and his or her parents to improve attendance, get counseling or do community service.

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