Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Naming and shaming a bad idea, say MPs

A STATE parliamentary committee has rejected calls for juvenile criminals to be "named and shamed" and instead wants media blackouts on identifying children broadened.

A report made public yesterday said a ban on identifying all children involved in court proceedings should remain because the notoriety of naming juvenile offenders would only encourage them to reoffend.

And the ban should be extended to cover children who were yet to be charged, but were likely to be involved in criminal proceedings, the report said.

The committee chairwoman, Christine Robertson, a Labor MP, said young offenders should be protected from the "stigma of being associated with a crime … to assist in their rehabilitation".

"The weight of evidence presented to the committee clearly indicates that naming and shaming juvenile offenders is more likely to increase the likelihood of their reoffending, rather than reduce it," she said in the report.

Ms Robertson said calls to name young offenders often followed well publicised crimes such as the recent machete and baseball bat attack by teenage youths on a western Sydney high school.

"In some instances, publicly naming juvenile offenders would give victims and their families a sense of vindication. However, there is evidence that confidential processes, such as youth justice conferencing, which protect the identity of all children involved, give victims a greater role in, and greater satisfaction with, criminal justice outcomes for juvenile offenders."

Existing legislation prevents the publication of anything that identifies anyone under 18 who is a criminal offender, victim or witness to a crime.


DPP urges tougher child identity laws
The New South Wales Director of Public Prosecutions is calling for even stricter conditions on the naming of children involved in criminal proceedings.

The Privacy Commissioner's position on Child Offenders and Privacy

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