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Tougher New Bail Laws for NSW Youth

New changes to youth bail laws in NSW will make it harder for children aged over 14 years and under 18 years to get bail. Streeton Lawyers represents children...

Justin Wong

On 12 March 2024, the NSW government introduced the Bail and Crimes Amendment Bill 2024. This bill creates sweeping new changes to youth bail laws that will make it harder for children aged over 14 years and under 18 years to get bail. As part of the reforms the government also proposes to create a new offence criminalising posting about crimes on social media. 

Section 22C will be inserted into the Bail Act 2013 (NSW) and will require a bail authority be satisfied of an extra test for 14 to 18 year olds charged with certain offences, such as motor theft or serious break and enter, whilst on bail.  The test will require the bail authority to have “a high degree of confidence” that the young person will not commit a serious indictable offence, if bail is granted.

The amendments also see the introduction of a new section 154K in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) targeting youths. If a person commits a motor theft or breaking and entering offense and then posts material online, they will be liable to the maximum term of imprisonment for the relevant offence, plus an additional 2 years imprisonment.

Recently, there has been a wider debate in Australia around youth crime. Australia has one of the lowest ages of criminal responsibility in the world. People have been arguing that the age for charging and incarcerating a child should be raised from 10 years to 14 years. However, the NSW government has ruled out raising the age of criminal responsibility.

The average age of young people on remand after bail was refused by police was 14 years old, while the average age of remanded young people refused bail by the courts was 16.2 years of age.

Evidence suggests that if bail is denied, children are more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system. Youth detention has been found to in fact aggravate the trauma and behavioural issues that young people experience.

Streeton Lawyers represents children of all ages. See our case studies to read more about our success in the Children’s Court.

If your child has been accused of a criminal offence, contact us now to speak to one of our criminal law specialists.