Young people can legally leave home once they turn 17. If a young person under the age of 17 leaves home, the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) can look into why the young person is away from home (e.g. in response to a complaint from a parent that the child has left home) and may apply for a An order made by a court in response to a protection application. This may involve removal of the child from the family. in the Children’s An independent body that hears legal claims brought by parties and decides between them. Serious cases are heard by a judge and jury, or just a judge. Less-serious cases are heard by a magistrate. (see ‘Protection applications’ in Chapter 1.4: The Children’s Court).
However, if a young person under the age of 17 leaves home, and has adequate housing and can support themselves properly, then it is unlikely that DHHS A document that sets out what a person wants to happen to their money and other property after they die. apply for a protection order.
When can young people get a job?
The Child Employment A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation. 2003 (Vic) places a range of limitations on the employment of young people. These limitations are outlined below.
Aged under 13
Generally, young people under the age of 13 can’t work. Except:
- if they are 11 years old or over and are employed to deliver newspapers or advertising Relevant or important. For example, material evidence is something that helps to prove an argument in a criminal case., or to make deliveries for a pharmacy;
- if they are working in a family business or in the entertainment industry (there is no minimum age for working in these two areas).
Aged under 15
Generally, young people under the age of 15 can only work (whether paid or not) if their employer gets a Child Employment Permit. These permits are issued for free by Business Victoria (see ‘Contacts’ at the end of this chapter). It is illegal to work without a permit and employers can be fined between $1000 and $10 000.
Also, a young person can only work if their parent or Someone who is legally responsible for taking care of another person or their property. consents to their employment in writing.
Subject to certain conditions, the restrictions on the employment of young people do not affect work experience programs for those at school (s 5.4.3 Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic)).
In Victoria, you cannot legally drink alcohol until you are 18 (Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (Vic) (‘LCR Act’)). Generally, it is an A criminal act prohibited by state or commonwealth criminal law. An offence is either a summary offence (minor) or an indictable offence (serious). for a young person under 18 to purchase, receive, possess or drink alcohol.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, a young person under 18 can receive, possess and/or drink alcohol at a private residence, provided that the alcohol is supplied by the young person’s parent, guardian or spouse (if the spouse is 18 or over) or by a third A person or organisation directly involved in a court case. Parties include the plaintiff or applicant, the defendant, and any third party added to the action, but not independent witnesses. authorised by one of those people. The full list of exceptions is set out in section 119 of the LCR Act.
Police officers can demand the name and address of a young person who asks for or receives alcohol. It is an offence to give incorrect information, or to not give any information, to police officers (s 126).
Police officers can take away any alcohol in the (1) Having control over property. Possession is not the same as ownership. For example, a bicycle you have borrowed from a friend is in your possession but you do not own it. (2) Having illegal drugs on your person or property. of a person believed to be under 18 (s 128).
A person under 18 can be charged with being drunk and disorderly just as anyone else can.
For more information about under 18 year olds and drinking alcohol, contact the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (www.vcglr.vic.gov.au).
Being in a licensed premises
Under the LCR Act (s 120(1)), it is an offence for a young person under 18 to enter or remain on a licensed premised unless the young person:
- is with a responsible adult;
- is having a meal;
- is a resident, if the premises has accommodation;
- is employed by the licensee, but is not involved in supplying alcohol;
- is completing a training program in hospitality.
Also, young people under 18 are allowed in licensed restaurants and cafes during ordinary trading hours, and until 11 pm.
For more information about under 18 year olds being on licensed premises, contact the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (www.vcglr.vic.gov.au).
In Victoria, you cannot legally smoke tobacco until you are 18 (Tobacco Act 1987 (Vic)). It is an offence to sell a tobacco product or e-cigarettes to a person under 18 (s 12). It is also an offence for a person to purchase a tobacco product or e-cigarettes for the use of a person under 18 (s 12). There is no law that says police officers can take away tobacco products in the possession of a person believed to be under 18.
In Australia, you have to be 18 to gamble legally.
Driving cars, motorbikes and scooters
In Victoria, a young person can apply for:
- a learner’s permit for a car when they turn 16 (s 22 Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic));
- a learner’s permit for a motorbike when they turn 18 (s 22);
- a learner’s permit for a scooter when they turn 18 (s 22).
In Victoria, when a young person turns 18, they can apply for:
- a licence to drive a car if they have held a learner’s permit for a car for at least 12 months;
- a licence to drive a motorbike or scooter if they have held a learner’s permit for a motorbike or scooter for at least three months or completed an approved training course (regs 21, 23 Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2009 (Vic));
- a licence to drive a car, motorbike or scooter if they have had a relevant licence in another country.
For more information about driver licences, and about the law relating to driving in Victoria, see Chapter 6.8: Driving offences.
Possessing a weapon
In Victoria, it is an offence for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase, own, possess, or store a firearm, air-gun or air-rifle (Firearms Act 1996 (Vic) (‘Firearms Act’)).
However, young people aged between 12 and 17 can obtain a firearm licence, but only:
- for the purpose of learning to use a firearm (but not a pistol); or
- to engage in sport or target shooting competitions,
- while they are being actively supervised by an adult who has a full licence for the same category of firearm (sch 3 Firearms Act).
Young people aged between 12 and 17 can only carry and use particular categories of firearm.
In Victoria, under the Control of Weapons Act 1990 (Vic) and the Control of Weapons Regulations 2000 (Vic), no one (whether they are over 18 or not) may possess, carry or use a knife – unless the knife is carried in a safe and secure manner that is consistent with the lawful excuse for which it is possessed.
Lawful excuse includes possession or use in the course of employment, lawful sport, recreation or entertainment, or as part of a legitimate collection, display or exhibition. Carrying or using a knife for self-defence is not a lawful excuse.
Regulation 8 of the Control of Weapons Regulations 2000 (Vic) lists the prohibited weapons that must not be made, sold, purchased, possessed, carried or used in Victoria; this list includes flick knives, daggers, butterfly knives, and knuckle dusters.
In Victoria, under the Electoral Act 2002 (Vic), you cannot vote until you are 18. It is compulsory for all Australian citizens who are 18 and over to vote in federal, state and local government elections, polls and referendums. You can be fined if you don’t vote.
In Victoria, you cannot make a will until you are 18 (s 5 Wills Act 1997 (Vic)). For limited exceptions, and information on will-making, see Chapter 9.3: Wills.
Tattooing and body piercing
In Victoria, under the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) (s 42), it is a criminal offence for anyone to tattoo or perform scarification, tongue splitting, branding or beading on anyone under the age of 18. This law does not apply if the tattoo is done for a medical reason and is performed by a doctor (ss 43–44A).
In Victoria, under the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic), young people under 16 cannot get a piercing without the written permission of their parent or guardian. The parent or guardian of an under 16-year-old can decide where the piercing is placed.
This law does not apply if the piercing is done for a medical reason and is performed by a doctor (ss 43–44A).
Young people under 18 cannot get an intimate piercing (e.g. on the genitalia or nipples), even if their parent or guardian consents to the piercing.
Under the Australian Passports Act 2005 (Cth), all Australian citizens must travel on their own passport; Australians who are under 18 cannot be included on their parent’s or guardian’s passport.
Young people under 18 cannot get a passport without the written To agree to something being done, to approve an action or arrangement. See also informed consent. of each person who has parental responsibility for them; unless the young person is married – then parental permission is not required (s 11).
However, young people under 18 can get a passport without parental/guardian consent:
- where a court has allowed the young person to leave Australia;
- where the physical or mental welfare of the young person would be adversely affected if a passport were not granted; and
- where the passport is urgently needed because of a family crisis and the person required to give written consent cannot be easily contacted.
What is Any physical punishment, but generally meaning something that causes pain, such as hitting.?
‘Corporal punishment’ is the use of physical force towards a child for the purpose of disciplining that child. The intention is to cause some degree of pain or discomfort (United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2006). Corporal punishment is also known as hitting, smacking, spanking, or belting.
For more information about corporal punishment, see the ‘Corporal punishment: key issues’ fact sheet, published by the Australian Government’s Australian Institute of Family Studies (https://aifs.gov.au).
Use of corporal punishment by parents
In Victoria, there is no Statutory rules made by parliament or by bodies the parliament delegates power to, for example a local council or a registration authority. See delegated legislation; statute. concerning the use of corporal punishment by parents. However, under Victorian (1) The system of law developed by the English courts through precedent and adopted in ‘common law countries’ in the British Commonwealth (as opposed to Roman law (civil law) or ecclesiastical law). (2) The case law made by judges in that system. (3) Case law that is not part of the law of equity. (4) Historically, the rules of law common to all people in England, as distinct from local or customary laws., it is lawful for parents and guardians to administer reasonable corporal punishment to children in their care. The punishment cannot be without a just cause or excuse and must not be excessive. In determining what is ‘reasonable’, Something of value, such as money, given by one person to another person as part of a contract. must be given to the age, physique and mentality of the child and to the means or A formal document, in writing or digitally authorised, which has a legal effect. For example, a transfer of land is an instrument that has the effect of changing ownership from one person to another. used to administer the punishment (see R v Terry  VR 114).
Use of corporal punishment by teachers
In Victoria, the Education and Training Reform A change made to a legal document or Act of parliament. (School Age) Act 2009 (Vic) banned corporal punishment in all schools in Victoria (i.e. in government, Catholic, and independent schools). The An order made by the Supreme Court of Victoria or the High Court of Australia prohibiting a body from acting outside its authority. See also jurisdiction; prerogative writ; ultra vires. of corporal punishment is also outlined in the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2007 (Vic) (r 14) and in the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (Vic).