HOME ALONE ONLY RULES OK ON A RANGE OF CRI­TE­RIA

Weekend Courier - - Opinion We Now Have A Rockingham Based Premier But -

WITH the school hol­i­days start­ing to­mor­row, many par­ents may be won­der­ing how young is too young to leave kids home alone. Slater and Gor­don lawyer Emma Alder­sea said par­ents had le­gal obli­ga­tions for ad­e­quate child su­per­vi­sion. The WA Crim­i­nal Code states: “a par­ent of a child un­der the age of 16 years, and be­ing able to main­tain such child, wil­fully and with­out law­ful or rea­son­able cause deserts the child and leaves it with­out means of sup­port is com­mit­ting an of­fence.” Ms Alder­sea said when de­cid­ing whether the time left alone was un­rea­son­able, the courts would con­sider things like the age and ca­pac­ity of the child, the length of time the child was left unat­tended, the pres­ence or ab­sence of shel­ter, food and wa­ter, and the rea­son the child was left unat­tended. She said par­ents should use their own judg­ment. “What may seem like a safe sit­u­a­tion for one child might not be for an­other, so par­ents need to con­sider the ma­tu­rity of their child as well as the en­vi­ron­ment they are be­ing left in be­fore leav­ing them at home,” Ms Alder­sea said. Vanessa Sch­mitt - Ed­i­tor

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