Across Australia, children as young as 10 are charged, brought before a court, sentenced and locked up behind bars. You can advocate for and have conversations about raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years of age so that Australia would be in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Steps to take action
- Follow the evidence and learn more about the importance of raising the age. Some great resources are listed below.
- Understand the personal impact on individuals by hearing stories from young people with lived experience of the youth justice system - worthasecondchance.com.au/stories.
- Watch the documentary In My Blood It Runs and offer to host a screening in your school, workplace or community centre.
- When telling stories of those affected, use these key statistics:
Of young people who have contact with the youth justice system:
- 71% were victims of abuse, trauma or neglect.
- 56% had previously been suspended or expelled from school.
- 40% presented with mental health issues.
- 37% had involvement with child protection at some time.
The facts speak for themselves
- Locking up kids doesn't make us safer – 82% of kids will re-offend after detention.
- 80% of young people with access to group conferencing have not re-offended two years later.
- The detention rate for Aborigianl and Torres Strait Islander people is 13 times the non-Indigenous rate.