Alleged offending and criminal justice system involvement by 10-13 year olds

Over recent years there has been discussion around young people and whether they are cognitively able to form criminal intent. The Victorian government recently announced it will raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 years old to 12, and to 14 years old by 2027. 

Three fact sheets examine alleged offending by 10 to 13 year olds recorded by police between July 2012 and June 2022, including their contact with the Victorian criminal justice system.

Key findings include:

  • 10 to 13 year old alleged offenders were associated with a very small minority (1%) of all alleged offender incidents, compared to 14 to 17 year olds (10%) and 18 year olds or over (88%).
  • The number of unique 10 to 13 year old alleged offenders has decreased over time.
    • 10 year old offenders decreased 67% from 115 in 2012-13 to 38 in 2021-22.
    • 11 year old offenders decreased 43% from 209 in 2012-13 to 120 in 2021-22.
  • Less than 1 in 10 (9%) alleged 10 to 13 year old offenders had charges proven in court between 2017-18 and 2022-23.
  • More than half (54%) 10 to 13 year old alleged offenders were cautioned by police.
  • Three-quarters of 10 to 13 year old alleged offenders were involved in only one police-recorded criminal incident per year.
  • There has been a 51% decrease in Property and deception offenders, however Crimes Against the Person offenders have exhibited a gradual increase and now stabilised.
  • In the five years 2017-18 to 2021-22, there were 107 unique young alleged offenders recorded for a serious Category A or B offence.
  • More than half (57%) of 10 to 13 year old alleged offenders in 2021-22 had previously been recorded as a primary Affected Family Member or child witness to a family violence incident or a victim in a criminal incident.

Number of unique alleged offenders between 2012-13 and 2021-22, by age

Alleged offending by 10-13 year olds, 2012-13 to 2021-22
Crime Statistics Agency, 2023
Crime Statistics Agency, 2023
Date of Publication


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