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Raising the criminal age from 10 is a start, but 12 still too young

[supplied by Amnesty Australia]


On the day that the Northern Territory’s new law raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 years old to 12 years old, Amnesty International Australia’s Indigenous Rights Campaigner Kacey Teerman says:

“Today, families across the Northern Territory can find relief that their 10 and 11 year old children are safe from criminalisation and incarceration. This is a significant achievement for the campaign to raise the age and for the children, families and advocates who bravely testified at the Royal Commission into Detention and Protection of Children in the Northern Territory.

"Raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old grants some of the Northern Territory’s most vulnerable children two more years to grow, develop and mature before they’re at risk of incarceration." 

"While these two additional years of childhood free from criminalisation are a precious reprieve, vulnerable children and their families still fear that the risk of a prison cell is just around the corner. No child’s 12th birthday should come with the risk of falling into the criminal justice system."

"Raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12 is a start, but is ultimately a continuation of the Northern Territory’s immoral, harmful policy of child incarceration that not only doesn’t curb youth offending but sees children three times more likely to end up in prison as adults."

"The Convention on the Rights of the Child  states that arrest and detention must be measures of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. The longer that children can remain out of prison and in their communities, the better chance they have to grow up to be healthy, happy adults.”


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