You know, we’ve been here very recently. Just last year, many quarters raised serious concerns about the treatment of children and young people by the criminal justice system. People asked questions about the potential emotional and psychological impact of arrest, investigation and charge; about the lack of attention given to the mental health of young people in contact with the criminal justice system; about the cavalier approach of the authorities towards the state’s obligations under the Convention of the Rights of the Child; about our collective readiness to demonise young people with the silencing hand of authoritarianism.
I refer, of course, to the disagreeable unfortunate named Amos Yee.
Imagine a world where those questions had been taken seriously. Where the state and society had looked honestly and searchingly at how best to implement CRC, and to ensure mechanisms that would genuinely centre and prioritise children’s and young people’s well-being in all interactions with state bodies, even when they are cast as potential wrong-doers. A world where we had listened, and cared, and started the hard work required for a cultural shift.
In that world, how might Benjamin Lim’s experience with the police have been different?