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Victoria to trial electronic monitoring for children charged with serious offences

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Children in Victoria charged with serious crimes will be subject to electronic monitoring under a new trial.
victoria children electronic monitoring

Children in Victoria charged with serious crimes will be subject to electronic monitoring under a new trial.

Courts will be able to order children charged with serious offences to wear a monitoring device while they are out on bail and awaiting legal proceedings.

If a child breaks their bail conditions, the tracking technology would alert police.

The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) called the decision “a betrayal of all children and young people.”

Background

Police brought charges against more than 8,000 10 to 17-year-olds in Victoria last year, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data.

Queensland introduced a similar trial in 2021 which it recently extended to 2025.

The Northern Territory passed laws in 2015 giving courts the ability to impose an electronic monitoring device on children as a bail condition.

Pushback

VALS provides free community legal advice. It said the trial could see children subjected to “monitoring and surveillance without ever being found guilty of anything.”

VALS CEO Nerita Waight said: “Electronic monitoring has been tried a million times. It does not work.”

Wright said the decision would negatively impact the work VALS has done to change the “over-incarceration” of First Nations children in Victoria.

Opposition

Victorian Shadow Attorney-General Michael O’Brien said the trial “is not going to keep Victoria safe.”

O’Brien accused the government of cutting police funding and questioned if the state had sufficient resources to monitor the bracelets.

“If it’s not safe for these people to be in the community then you don’t give them bail,” O’Brien said.

Victorian Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said the trial will enforce bail compliance, which she said “should be taken extremely seriously.”

13 YARN: 13 92 76

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