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UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Anne Curtis speaks out about lowering the age of criminal responsibility

As an ambassador of UNICEF, Anne Curtis agrees with their views about the current debate in the Philippine House of Representatives.

BY JOAN LEARY

FRESH SCOOPS

5/23/2019 11:47 AM
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Anne Curtis speaks out about lowering the age of criminal responsibility


Photo credit: @annecurtissmith on Instagram

Anne Curtis used social media platforms to voice her opinion regarding lawmakers working on passing a bill that lowers the age of criminal responsibility.

Anne, who is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, said that she stands with the “Council for the Welfare of Children, civil society organizations, professional associations, child protection experts, well-meaning citizens, parents and the youth.”

“I stand with them for NOT lowering the criminal age of responsibility but instead supporting the full implementation of the current law of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act,” she wrote.

“I understand that there are those who see differently but if you could only try and discern that they are STILL CHILDREN, are victims of their circumstance and are still young enough to change their ways,” she added.

Anne reiterated that these children who are “in conflict” with the law are already victims of poverty and exploitation and so there is still a chance for them to change.

"Instead of being penalized, they should have access to proper rehabilitation—where they can be properly cared for to understand what they may have done wrong, learn to change their ways and be given a second chance at life," she said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The debate on lowering the age of criminal responsibility is up for talks in the Senate and as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador it is my duty to raise awareness and lend my voice to support the call of the Council for the Welfare of Children, civil society organizations, professional associations, child protection experts, well-meaning citizens, parents and the youth. I stand with them for NOT lowering the criminal age of responsibility but instead supporting the full implementation of the current law of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act. I understand that there are those who see differently but if you could only try and discern that they are STILL CHILDREN, are victims of their circumstance and are still young enough to change their ways. “Children in conflict with the law are already victims of circumstance, mostly because of poverty and exploitation by adults.” Instead of being penalized, they should have access to proper rehabilitation - where they can be properly cared for to understand what they may have done wrong, learn to change their ways and be given a second chance at life. The proper implementation of the current Juvenile Justice Welfare Act has proven to have many success stories that @unicefphils has shared with me. It cannot fail IF IT IS FULLY IMPLEMENTED. “The JJWA does not see children in conflict with the law as criminals. Rather, it regards them as victims of their circumstances. This law has given these children hope – to change, to become better, and to work for a brighter future.” I stand with UNICEF as they call on the Government to work with child rights defenders and strengthen the juvenile justice system for the sake of all Filipino children. #ChildrenNotCriminals https://www.unicef.org/philippines/press-releases/unicef-implement-juvenile-justice-law-fully-and-effectively To read more about this please visit link in bio.

A post shared by Anne Curtis (@annecurtissmith) on

 

In the end, she said, "I stand with UNICEF as they call on the Government to work with child rights defenders and strengthen the juvenile justice system for the sake of all Filipino children,” with the hashtag “#ChildrenNotCriminals.”

Under the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, the age of criminal responsibility is set at 15 and so minors under 18 years old would not face charges but would be put in rehabilitation and other institutions to help them instead.

While Anne’s celebrity friends showed their support for her views, it received mixed reactions from her 11.7 million Instagram followers.

“Proud of you Anita. Ilaban ang magandang kinabukasan ng mga kabataan,” Angel Locsin said.

UNICEF also commented and said, “Thank you for speaking up, Anne! ALL CHILDREN must be treated with dignity and accorded their inalienable rights. Children in conflict with the law, who are already vulnerable and exploited, need to be protected and not further penalized. They deserve a second chance in life. They are #ChildrenNotCriminals.”