KIDDY criminals are being apprehended by police at an alarming rate of more than 50 a week for offences including assaults, car theft, malicious damage, armed hold-ups and drug dealing.
Figures on crime rates among 8, 9, and 10 year olds compiled by police show the distressing extent of the mayhem in some areas caused by children running wild.
Police logged 7724 offences by children under 10 between January 1, 2005 and September 30, 2007.
The crimes are very adult but police and welfare agencies admit they have no legal power to charge or punish these pint-size thugs, thieves, vandals and rapists.
The only option is a stern lecture and a call to parents, and possibly a referral to the Department of Community Services. Only when children are in the older 10-14 age bracket is there a possibility of an appearance in the Children's Court.
The data was released following a Freedom of Information request and intervention by the Ombudsman after a nine-month delay.
The figures reveal:
* ONE murder last year by a 10-year-old, although details of the crime are not available;
* 141 sexual assaults and other sexual offences, including 31 by eight year olds;
* 41 robberies, including two involving firearms;
* 47 drug offences, including four where the children were dealing in cannabis, amphetamines or other drugs;
* 584 driving offences, including 113 by eight-year-olds;
* 355 break and enters, including 87 by eight-year-olds;
* 1109 assaults, including both domestic and non-domestic violence; and;
* 1613 cases of malicious damage to property, including 301 by eight-year-olds.
A police spokesman said children taken into ustody in this age group are returned to their parents without formal charging.
The youngsters do not face further action in court due to the presumption of doli incapax, the legal position that they are incapable of being held responsible for a crime.
"Children under 10 cannot be guilty of an offence. This is an unrebuttable presumption," the spokesman said.
It's not even automatic that the children's names are passed on to the Department of Community Services (DOCS). Only if there is a risk to the child's safety are police required to notify DOCS.
Former Children's Court Magistrate Barbara Holborow said there were more "feral" tender-aged offenders than ever. She said it's her experience that these children continue committing crimes until eventually they are old enough to appear in a Children's Court some years later.
"I don't know whether it's because so many parents are working by necessity, loss of parents' rights, poor discipline at home or whatever, but something is wrong," she said.
Victims of Crime Assistance League executive director Robyn Cotterell-Jones agreed.
"There's no fear any more in children about authority. They have the attitude that no one can touch me," she said.
Often the victims of child crimes were other children, especially in the area of sexual assault, she said. Ignoring the crime because the offender was under 10 may mean the victim does not get appropriate justice or help.
"The silencing mechanisms that are supposed to stop a child who does a crime being scarred for life may also mean horrible crimes are covered up," she said.
Laws will push teenagers into adult prisons TWELVE young offenders who have brought a court challenge against their transfer from juvenile to adult jails have been dealt a blow after the State Government rushed laws into Parliament that may ensure they are moved. Seven were shifted to adult jails from juvenile detention centres in March and April soon after their 18th birthdays despite judges' orders that they serve their sentence in a juvenile facility until 21 because of special vulnerabilities.
Teachers urge Govt to stem school violence New South Wales teachers say the State Government should be putting more resources into tackling violence in public schools, after it was revealed 252 official reports of assault or serious threats were made last year. The figures are contained in reports released by the state's Education Department, which show more than 10 per cent of the state's schools reported at least one serious incident in the six months to September last year.
Principals agree: cut out social subjects "The curriculum is far too crowded and we know from our research that not all schools can do what is being asked of them," she said. "The social responsibilities being placed on primary schools are ever increasing, taking time and resources away from our core business."
Jail parents of truants, says Iemma EDUCATION and welfare experts have ridiculed Morris Iemma's plan to send parents to jail if their children repeatedly miss school, saying the policy is "heavy-handed" and will only hurt the most disadvantaged students.
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Girls gone wild? While these figures point to a disturbing trend, those searching for the reasons behind it paint a complex picture of women's changing identities, and an apparent acceptance of an increasingly violent culture.
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2nd Renaissance - Beyond Industrial Capitalism and Nation States The very notions of the rule of law and judicial punishment are socially corrosive and damaging to the spiritual consciousness of both the people subjected to them and those that practice them. The following diagram shows the choices we have, right now, as the 2nd Renaissance gathers pace and a Level 4 Civilization lies ahead of us.
The full agenda for ICOPA is now online, and pending any further changes, the line-up is looking like we're going to have a fascinating conference. With speakers coming to present papers from Brazil, Trinidad, Canada, Australia, USA, Belgium, Argentina, South Africa plus many more including the UK, we are really looking at a truly international conference.