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Anti-gang laws target young and marginalised

Anti-gang laws target young and marginalised

By Karin Derkley

Discrimination Young Persons 

New laws introduced by the Victorian state government could send people as young as 14 to prison for up to three years for associating with someone convicted of a serious offence. The proposed laws will give Victoria Police the power to issue "anti-association" notices to young people 14 and over, "regardless of whether the person receiving the notice has a criminal conviction". The Justice Legislation Amendment (Unlawful Association and Criminal Appeals) Bill 2018 is intended to replace 2016 legislation that applied only to people over the age of 18. Officers at or above the rank of Sergeant will be able to issue notices. Previously only officers at the rank of Senior Sergeant or above were able to issue notices. The government's media release says: "This will assist police to prevent vulnerable young people becoming involved in serious and organised crime". But the Law Institute of Victoria's deputy chair of the Human Rights Committee, Merys Williams says that anti-association laws are at odds with the presumption of innocence.

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