The ACT government will take the next steps in the push to raise the age of criminal responsibility within weeks as it seeks to ensure children as young as 10 can't be put behind bars.
ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury signalled a discussion paper was set to be released by the end of the month "which will describe and seek input on the policy questions we will need to resolve to implement this historic reform".
Consultation with the community sector has been under way to ensure support is in place for children aged between 10 and 14 who would have previously been diverted to the criminal justice system.
ACT Council of Social Service Chief Executive Emma Campbell, as well as leaders from other councils from all states and territories, met with Mr Rattenbury on Tuesday evening to discuss the ACT's approach.
Representatives from the Australian Council of Social Service, as well as from the Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmanian and Western Australian councils of social service met in person on Tuesday to discuss the issue, while others phoned into the meeting.
Dr Campbell said it was a priority for all the organisations to push the issue both nationally and with other state and territory governments.
"We're proud that our government is leading on this, it demonstrates a positive example for Australia," she said.
Mr Rattenbury said putting children as young as 10 in prison was "traumatising and counterproductive".
"When children are imprisoned, it sets the trajectory for the rest of their lives and increases the risk they will be involved in the adult criminal justice system as they mature," he said.
"We know it is better to provide them with the help they need to stay on the right path, which is why it is a very high priority for me as the ACT Attorney-General."
ACT Minister for Youth Justice Emma Davidson said the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre should be the "last resort" for young people.
"Part of this is raising the age of criminal responsibility, but for this work to succeed, we need to address the social determinants which lead young people into the youth justice system," she said.
"We must ensure services are holistic, accessible and strength-based so that young people and families are supported, particularly when they are experiencing multiple complex issues."
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