Right now, states and territories across Australia are locking up kids as young as 10. Act now and help give kids a brighter future.

Every kid deserves to enjoy the freedom of childhood, surrounded by their family and community. No child should be behind bars, in brutal conditions. They should be #FreeToBeKids.

Four out of five 10 and 11-year-olds in Australian prisons are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The justice system is stacked against Indigenous kids, many of whom experience disadvantage and discrimination in their lives.

Young children are less likely to know their rights when approached by police. Yet once they are in the quicksand of the justice system, it’s very difficult to get out.

Globally, child rights experts agree that the age of criminal responsibility should be, at a minimum, at least 12. By locking up 10-year-olds, Australia’s laws are in breach of the UN’s minimum age of criminal responsibility. You can stand up for the rights of young kids today.

Join our call to raise the age of criminal responsibility in Australia to at least 12, preferably 14 years of age in line with international standards. This will protect all children and form part of a national plan of action to end the over-representation of Indigenous children in detention.

You can help give kids a chance at a brighter future. Take action now and urge the Attorney General to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14. 

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Attorney General George Brandis
Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus

Dear Sir,

Currently we allow children as young as 10 to be locked up in every state and territory in Australia. This is a breach of Australia’s international obligations on the rights of the child. Other countries, like Canada and Germany, have set the minimum age of criminal responsibility as at least 12.

Four out of five 10 and 11-year-old kids who spend time in youth prison are Indigenous, even though they are only a tiny fraction of the youth population.

I urge you to immediately start working with all state and territory Attorneys-General to to increase the age of criminal responsibility to at least 12 years, in line with the absolute minimum age that the United Nations has ruled for jurisdictions to hold children criminally responsible.

This change should form part of the Federal Government’s national plan of action to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous youth in the justice system. This national plan must include addressing entrenched and persistent disadvantage in the community and puts in place the necessary measures to protect children from harm.

Yours sincerely,

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