Children should be cared for and protected – not locked up in prison cells.
That's why we've introduced legislation to the Victorian Parliament to raise the age of criminal responsibility from just 10 to 14. We need to change the laws across the country that mean kids as young as 10 can be arrested, put through the court system, and locked up. And right now in Victoria, we have an opportunity to lead the way.
But we need your help. We've also launched an open letter to the Premier to show the overwhelming community support for raising the age.
Will you add your name to our open letter to show your support? Together, we can build pressure on the Victorian Government to make this crucial change that will give children a fair chance to thrive – and set a positive example for other states around Australia to follow.
Open letter to the Premier of Victoria
CC: Attorney General of Victoria
CC: Minister for Youth Justice, Minister for Corrections
CC: Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
Children should be cared for and protected, supported and guided to learn and grow.
Yet today children 10 to 13 can be arrested, put through the court system and locked up behind bars. What a confusing and terrifying experience that must be for a child.
Worse, across Australia, 65% of children in prison are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. This reveals the systemic racism in our policing and legal system, which exposes these children to further injustice through the trauma of prison and a criminal record at such a young age.
At a time when the Black Lives Matter movement is sweeping the country, we call on you to put an end to this blatant systemic discrimination in our legal system.
Please vote YES for the Greens legislation to Raise The Age of criminal responsibility to 14 years old in Victoria. A progressive state like Victoria must join the Australian Capital Territory in leading this reform across the nation.
Medical experts tell us that children this young are still developing and what they experience has profound life-long consequences, whether it’s the trauma of the courts and prison or the treatment and support that they need.
Australia’s low minimum age of criminal responsibility is out of step with international standards. Globally, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has called on countries to raise the age to at least 14 years old and singled out Australia for our poor record on this.
Victoria is better than many other states in diverting young offenders away from the court system, so we are well-placed to make this change.
First Nations organisations, medical and legal experts, and human rights organisations across Australia all agree. It's time we changed the laws across this nation.
True leadership in justice for First Nations people must be tackled on all fronts, not just on longer term issues like Treaty, but in practical changes that will make a difference right now.
Please give children a fair chance and Raise the Age.
Lidia Thorpe, Senator for Victoria
Samantha Ratnam MP, Leader of the Victorian Greens
Dr Tim Read MP
Ellen Sandell MP
Sam Hibbins MP