Three Indigenous people silhouetted at sunset by the ocean

Submission: Review of Age of Criminal Responsibility

Amnesty International Australia has used the opportunity to repeat its strong opinion that the age of criminal responsibility should be raise in Australia.

Across Australia, the minimum age of criminal responsibility is 10. This means that children as young as 10 are arrested by police, locked up in police cells, hauled before courts and sent to youth prisons – often in prisons far away from their community.

Our submission calls on all governments to immediately raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

Australia has been repeatedly criticised by the United Nations, including long-standing criticism from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, and most recently by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, for failing to reform the current minimum age of criminal responsibility. When the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples visited Australia in 2017 she said that the routine detention of 10 and year-old children was the most distressing aspect of her visit.

All kids have the right to be free, happy and safe – including First Nations kids. It’s time to put an end to the barbaric treatment of our children and overhaul our response to youth crime. Mistreatment of children is never okay. Act now and learn more about our child rights and Indigenous justice campaigns.