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Statement of the CWC Secretariat on the Proposed Lowering of the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility
By Celaine Cabrera, Information Officer II

 

 

The Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) says no to the lowering the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (MACR) and yes to the full implementation of the existing juvenile justice law and provide greater attention to prevention program.

 

Pic 2019 MACR Statement

CWC Secretariat opposes the lowering of MACR

  

CWC believes that rather than focusing on lowering the MACR, the government should focus on the prevention of juvenile delinquency which will include a National Positive Parenting Program. This recognizes the important role of parents in promoting a safe, positive and engaging environment that will impact the kind of behavior a child will display throughout his/her years of life. The Parenting Program shall strengthen the parent-child relationship and shall provide support for parents in delivering their caring and nurturing roles.

Moreover, CWC reiterates its stand to fully and intensively implement the current Juvenile Justice and Welfare law that already:

  • Sets the minimum age of criminal responsibility at 15;
  • Holds children in conflict with the law accountable and liable for their actions;
  • Calls for strengthening of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare System, as a system dealing with children at risk (CAR) and children in conflict with the law (CICL), which provides child-appropriate proceedings, including programs and services for prevention, diversion, rehabilitation, re-integration and aftercare to ensure their normal growth and development;
  • Provides for the setting up of an evidence-based prevention, and a comprehensive juvenile intervention program; and
  • Introduces restorative justice for children in conflict with the law, not retributive or punitive justice which will integrate them back to the community.

An effective and full-implementation of the law would require addressing delayed court proceedings resulting in the prolonged stay of CICLs in detention facilities, lack of specialized courts, facilities, and personnel, implementing the required customized interventions for CICL, provision of training/ capacity building of juvenile justice actors / service providers (e.g. social workers, police, prosecutors, judges), and most especially, commitment from the local government units that affect implementation programs and services for children at the local level to prevent them from progressing into a CICL.



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