Many legal and non-legal means have been adopted in order to eliminate disadvantages faced by Youth, the Aged and people of differing sexuality in Australia. Although many of these measures have been imposed for the overall well being of these groups, it is however undeniable that the measures fail to adequately address the full extent of these disadvantages.
Young people in general are considered to be vulnerable and often unable to understand the complete consequences of their actions. Therefore laws concerning the Age of criminal responsibility, children in the workplace, child abuse, and the age of consent have been introduced in order to protect children and to differentiate their treatment to adults who have committed the same crime. Under the Children (Criminal Proceedings Act) 1987 (NSW), no child under the age of 10 can be charged with a criminal offence in NSW. Under the principle of Doli Incapax, children aged 10-14 should not be charged with a crime unless proven to understand the seriousness and full consequences of their actions. These measures have been effective in protecting vulnerable youth. For example, the charge of manslaughter on Corey Davis against a 10year old boy was dismissed in April 1999. The boy was proven to have an intellectual age of a 7 year old and not able to understand the full consequences of his actions, claiming Sure, I pushed him in, so what?Also, Under the Children (Criminal Proceedings Act) 1987 (NSW), the name of children, witnesses in crimes relating to children, and any immediate family of the victim cannot be publicised . This has been implemented in order protect Children, and to maximise the chance of rehabilitation. Likewise, The Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW) has been introduced to redirect the youth away from formal court proceedings, instead focusing on alternative methods such as issuing warnings, formal cautions, or referral to a Youth Justice Conference (YJC). However, these alternative methods may be ineffective in demonstrating the consequences and significance of crime to youth in offences such as stealing (or other summary offences), as if they are simply issued with a warning they may not take this seriously and steal again.
The Industrial Relations (Child Employment) Act 2006(NSW) states that the pay and work conditions of a child cannot be less than the NSW award standards. This law is effective in generally discouraging the exploitation of children in the workplace. Nevertheless there are some exceptional cases. For example In July 2007, young staff at Chilis restaurant were forced to wait around unpaid for 90minutes. As a result, inspectors from the NSW Office of Industrial Relations will be visiting 2500 workplaces across the state during the remainder of 2007. These inspectors will confirm that employers are meeting award pay standards and are not mistreated.
The NSW Commission for Children and Young People is an independent organisation working to monitor issues affecting...