Youth Justice & Juvenile Crime in Queensland

The Youth Justice Act 1992 (Qld) (‘Youth Justice Act’) governs ‘youth justice’ within Queensland and confirms that children are to be dealt with separately to the adult criminal justice system. The Youth Justice Act also regulates how children and young offenders are to be dealt with by police and sentencing options available to the Court.

Importantly, the Youth Justice Act provides a Charter of the youth justice principles in Queensland. In short, some of the goals of youth justice, in addition to maintaining the safety of the public, are:

  • Upholding the rights of children, including keeping them safe and promoting their physical and mental well-being;
  • A child should be treated with respect and dignity, including whilst in custody;
  • A focus on skill development and the rehabilitation of children;
  • Addressing treatment needs of children and assisting in their successful reintegration back into the community; and
  • Fair and participatory proceedings.

Can police charge my child with a criminal offence?

In Queensland, the legal system allows for children aged between 10 and 17 years to be charged with a criminal offence.

Children that are aged between 10 and 14 years are presumed not to be criminally responsible unless it can be proved that at the time the offence was committed, the child had the capacity to know between right and wrong.  

A child under the age of 10, however, cannot be held criminally responsible for an offence.

What do I do if my child has been contacted or charged by police?

If your child or a child you care for has been contacted or charged by police, you should contact a criminal lawyer experienced with Youth Justice matters.

Speak with a youth justice lawyer: 07 3361 0222 (available 24/7)

In the early stages of a juvenile criminal matter involving a young offender, it is important to be aware of the following:

  • If requested to do so by police, a child must provide their correct name, address, and date of birth to police. It is an offence for a child to refuse to do so;
  • A child has the right to remain silent and is not required to speak with police (other than to provide their correct name, address and date of birth);
  • If a police officer is going to question a child in relation to a criminal offence/s, the child’s parents, support person and/or a representative from Youth Justice Queensland needs to be contacted. The child must have had the opportunity to speak to any of those persons and arrange for such person to be present during questioning prior to the questioning commencing;
  • A child also has the right to obtain legal advice and representation prior to being questioned by police;
  • If police want to search a home or vehicle, they generally should have a warrant or provide legal reasons for the search. An occupier of a property should seek immediate legal advice before consenting to any search; and
  • If police take any property from a home, vehicle or directly from your child, police must provide you with a ‘field property receipt.’

It is in your child’s best interest to be legally represented. The role of lawyers in the early stages of an investigation is vital for the protection of a child.

Speak with a youth justice lawyer: 07 3361 0222 (available 24/7)

Can I be involved in my child’s legal matters?

The Youth Justice Act makes clear that a parent or guardian needs to understand that the child is the client. As lawyers, we are bound by confidentiality, and your child will need to advise us whether they want to have their parent or guardian present in any dealings with their lawyers.

Generally, there are many stages of criminal matters where the assistance of a parent or guardian can be very helpful. The Court often seeks to ascertain the views and wishes of a parent or guardian, and you are generally required to attend Court with your child.

Why choose us to represent your child in youth crime proceedings?

The lawyers at Gilshenan & Luton have expertise in this specialised and complex area of the law and can provide representation for your child or a child you care for at any stage of a criminal matter. 

The legal system can be an intimidating and confronting process, especially for a child. It is vital that you obtain advice and assistance from knowledgeable lawyers with expertise in this area at the earliest opportunity.

Contact Gilshenan & Luton

Youth Justice Lawyers Brisbane