Take action for #RaiseTheAge by sending a letter to the Premier and Attorney General in your State/Territory asking for the minimum age of criminal responsibility to be raised to at least 14.
Did you know that children and young people as young as 10 years old can be held criminally responsible? Many of these are Aboriginal children.
Do you know a 10 year old child?
Do you have a 10 year old child?
Can you imagine them in detention?
Our children don’t belong in prison.
Our children need to be loved, not locked up.
Use this template letter below to send the Premier and/or Attorney General in your State or Territory a letter urging them to take action to #RaiseTheAge of criminal responsibility. We encourage you to send physical letters if possible.
Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Christian Leader and Artist Safina Stewart has developed a #RaiseTheAge colouring-in sheet. We encourage you to ask a child in your life to do this colouring-in and include it with your letter to your Premier / Attorney General. Our prayer is that this will add an extra tangible element to the letter that really emphasises the reality that these are young children we are advocating for.
To <<State/Territory Premier/Attorney General's name>>,
My name is <<first and last name>>and I live in <<Suburb, State/Territory>>. As one of more than 56,000 Australian Christians who are part of the Common Grace movement, I am writing to you today to voice my concern about the urgent need to raise the age of criminal responsibility in <<your State/Territory>> and all across Australia to at least 14 years old.
Common Grace is a growing movement of Australian Christians passionate about Jesus and justice. We are led by our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Leaders in pursuit of friendship and Reconciliation in our lifetime.
Our children need to be loved, not locked up.
I am distressed by the fact that 10 year olds in Australia are currently being held criminally responsible and locked up. This is out of line with international jurisdictions, goes against the overwhelming medical, social and legal evidence and is in breach of our human rights obligations - including Australia’s commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Locking up children as young as 10 has been proven to be harmful to the child’s development and increases the likelihood of future criminal behaviour. Instead, therapeutic and diversionary measures should be implemented.
Each State and Territory has the power to #RaisetheAge to at least 14. Waiting for a national strategy will only delay change and exacerbate the harm done to our children. Likewise, raising the age to 12 is unsatisfactory.
<< Add your personal perspective: How do you feel about 10 year olds being locked up?/ Reflection on a 10-13 year old child that you know. >>
How will you act to immediately #RaiseTheAge of criminal responsibility in <<your State/Territory>> to at least 14 years old?
The age of criminal responsibility being set at 10 years old disproportionately affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, who are 17 times more likely to enter the criminal justice system compared to non-Indigenous children. This injustice stems from the consequences of colonisation and government policies that have resulted in many Aboriginal people, families and communities being trapped in cycles of poverty. To break these cycles of poverty, children must be properly supported, not locked up.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have an ancient and important God-appointed role as Custodians in these lands now called Australia. For too long the nation of Australia has not listened to, nor sought justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Aboriginal families and communities know what is best for their own communities, so funding for Aboriginal-led solutions should be prioritised in any policy and legislation.
Thank you for reading this letter and I urge you to take immediate action to raise the age of criminal responsibility so that our children can be loved and not locked up.
<<Your name and contact details>>
State / Territory Premiers and Chief Ministers
Dominic Perrottet, Premier of New South Wales
Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland
Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria
Mark McGowan, Premier of Western Australia
Peter Malinauskis, Premier of South Australia
Peter Gutwein, Premier of Tasmania*
Michael Gunner, Chief Minister of the Northern Territory
Andrew Barr, Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
State / Territory Attorney Generals
Australian Capital Territory, Shane Rattenbury
New South Wales, Mark Raymond Speakman
Northern Territory, Selena Jane Malijarri Uibo
Queensland, Shannon Fentiman
South Australia, Kyam Maher
Tasmania, Elise Archer*
Victoria, Jaclyn Symes
Western Australia, John Robery Quigley
*In June 2022, the Tasmanian Government committed to raising the legal age of detention from 10 to 14. This is a great first step, however must be followed by raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility to at least 14.