Raise the Age Campaign: The Fight Against Arresting/Imprisoning Children Aged 10-13.

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Raise The Age for arrest imprison childrenLets Raise the Age for child arrest and / or imprisonment

In all Australian jurisdictions, the age that an individual can be charged with a crime is ten years old. As a result, children as young as 10 are being arrested and imprisoned.

The Raise the Age campaign has highlighted a staggering 600 children aged 10 to 13 are incarcerated in Australian prisons and watch-houses in a single year. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are disproportionately impacted by this practice, accounting for a massive 70% of younger children in prisons.

This abhorrent and inhumane approach to young offenders is an out-of-date relic. It requires immediate action.

Harm is being done to children who are arrested

The current age of criminal responsibility defies contemporary medical evidence on the mental development of young children. Childrens Court is where children should be quickly processed rather than languishing in a watch houseIt flies in the face of overwhelming sociological evidence of the damaging effects of the criminal justice system on young persons. Further, it is an offense to Australia’s obligations as a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Change in this area is unacceptably stagnant, and requires urgent action.

O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors and other organisations support the Raise the Age initiative

As such, O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors is proud to support Raise the Age. We urge you to actively support this campaign.

This is a joint initiative across numerous organisations including:

  • the Human Rights Law Centre,
  • the Australian Medical Association,
  • the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services
  • and Amnesty International.

Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Berrimah, NT. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called for a royal commission into the NT's youth justice system after ABC's Four Corners exposed abuse of teen inmates at the centre. (AAP Image/Four Corners) The campaign is powerful and simple. All Australian Governments including States, Territories and Federal must raise the age at which children can be arrested or locked up from the current 10 years to 14 years.

This must be a collaborative, nationwide effort. Criminal law is primarily the provenance of the States, however, the Commonwealth has legislative capacity under the Constitution to enforce its treaty obligations. By signing Raise the Age’s petition, you will add your voice to call on those in charge to Raise the Age.

Take action. Demand change. Show your support by signing Raise the Age’s petition here.

Oliver Creagh

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