NT leads the way but it’s not enough: Australia must now raise criminal age to 14

Acknowledging the Northern Territory Government’s response to the The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory, Roxanne Moore, Amnesty International Indigenous Rights Campaigner said:

“The NT Government has today led the way for Australia by agreeing in principle to #RaiseTheAge of criminal responsibility.

“Right now, the Northern Territory, and all States and Territories, lock up primary-school kids. 10 is far too young to go to prison. 12 is a step in the right direction, but the age must be raised to 14, in line with the rest of the world.”

“What’s more, it’s not enough to only offer ‘in principle’ support for critical changes desperately needed to the youth justice system. Territory kids need to see firm commitments and timeframes around diversion away from prison, support for families and kids on bail, policing, independent oversight and accountability for change.

“These are children’s lives we are talking about. We look forward to seeing Minister Wakefield’s promised implementation plan by the end of this month. This must not be yet another set of recommendations that sit in a bottom drawer.”

“We’ve just heard a young person has been held in isolation for over 300 days in Western Australia – it’s critical that all Australian governments prohibit solitary confinement for children in prison. We know it’s not just Don Dale and that’s why the Prime Minister must adopt a national plan of action, to take these Royal Commission learnings across Australia.”