Local mum condemns name and shame decision

THERE are fears plans to publicly name and shame repeat juvenile offenders will have a more detrimental effect on youngsters in rural and regional communities.

The State Government yesterday confirmed it will legislate changes to allow the names of offenders aged 10 to 16 who find themselves before the courts more than once.

The move has been criticised by the Queensland Law Society, which suggests named offenders and their families would be subject to ridicule that would be more prominent in smaller communities where knowledge saturation is greater.

One local mother has echoed the Law Society's views, saying her own son would have been deeply disadvantaged had he been named for childhood mistakes.

"I don't think naming them is going to help anyone," she said.

"Some people think once you have done something wrong, you can never change and that is absolutely not true."

The woman's now adult son had brushes with the law in his teenage days for minor offending and she said had it been publicised, her son would have struggled to attain the success he has since worked hard for.

She said young people should be given a chance to change their ways before reaching adulthood.

"When you're a child you can't understand how silly mistakes can follow you around forever," she said.

"Once your name is out that you have been up to no good, people just see you as someone who should never be trusted.

"It would most definitely affect employment opportunities when older, even when you have changed your ways and just want to make a life for yourself."

A Warwick father has welcomed the changes and said it would be a fitting punishment for those who couldn't follow the law.

"I think it's a great idea and should be a case of three strikes and you're out," he said.

"The buck has to stop with them - if we do nothing, then they will keep offending.

"When they go to court, you just have to listen to the piss-poor excuses they come up with - they get into fights with their girlfriends and then they go out and stab or punch someone."

The Warwick man said people had the right to know who was committing crimes in the community and said this would allow that.

"It doesn't cost the taxpayers anything to name and shame them," he said.

"Also, if they are children of a well-to-do family, then having their name out there will encourage the families to take some action to stop their behaviour."

The Queensland Law Society Criminal Law Committee member Kurt Fowler said such small communities as those found in the Southern Downs could be severely affected by the changes.

"In the regional areas, any name would stand out, perhaps endlessly," he said.

"If the parents own a cafe or accountancy business, what are the ramifications for them, particularly if it's an offence of some gravity?"


Fast facts

  • 400 young people charged with more than 7000 offences while on bail in past year.
  • Children aged 10 to 16 can be named and shamed after they offend more than once.
  • Juvenile histories will be made available to adult courts.
  • Detention will no longer be a last resort.
  • Juveniles will transfer to adult correctional centres once they reach age 17 if they have more than six months left on sentence.