Note that a ‘child’ is defined under s. 3 of the Charter as a person under 18 years of age. You will need to consider s. 23 in assessing legislation, a policy or a program particularly where it:

  • enables a public or private authority to detain children;
  • permits enforcement authorities to hold children for any length of time;
  • authorises enforcement authorities to hold children in amenities that have limited facilities or services for the care and safety of detainees;
  • enables enforcement authorities to undertake personal searches of a convicted child in detention;
  • impacts on the design of detention centres or relates to the conditions under which children are detained in a public or private institution, either before or after conviction;
  • provides for the sentencing of children;
  • provides for sentencing of offenders which may impact on detained children (such as the place where an adult prisoner is detained);
  • affects the speed at which a child may be brought to trial (such as alteration to practices or internal procedures for case management in the Office of Public Prosecutions or the courts);
  • relates to remand or bail;
  • establishes or alters programs in prisons, youth training centres or residential centres;
  • otherwise regulates the custodial care of children.


These policy triggers are not comprehensive.