People Are Sharing Childhood Pics To Remind Australia We’re Still Locking Up Ten-Year-Olds

It's been one year since the law reformists refused to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14-years-old.

Raise The Age

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It’s been one year since Australia’s Council of Attorneys-General refused to raise the age of criminal responsibility. Currently, kids as young as ten can be thrown in jail, despite a national campaign to boost the age up to at least 14, per UN recommendations.

“At ten years old, the majority of children are still small enough for a car booster seat. They are still losing baby teeth. Their young brains are at a critical stage of development,” the #RaiseTheAge campaign wrote in a statement today.

This time last year, it was proposed that offending children should be offered mental health support, mentoring, and education instead. The working group exploring the possibility deferred making a call, saying they needed for “further work to occur regarding the need for adequate processes and services for children who exhibit offending behaviour”. Throwing kids in jail can cause lifelong health and mental issues, impact communities, and disproportionately affect Indigenous children.

An additional 499 children under the age of 13 have been locked away in the year since gone. Over half of the incarcerated kids aged between 10-17 held between 2019 and last year were Indigenous, despite only forming six percent of the age group in the country.

Now, activists and families are waiting for an update on the proposed alternative justice solutions, after deafening silence from the country’s chief legal reformists. Human rights, legal, and medical groups are now encouraging people to write to Federal Attorney-General, Michaelia Cash, according to SBS.

“Every day that attorneys general refuse to act, they are condemning a generation of our children to a lifetime behind bars. Ten-year-old children who get trapped in the criminal justice system don’t come out,” Co-Chair of Change the Record, Cheryl Axelby, told media.

To ground the reality of a ten-year-old being a child, and not a number, people have shared throwback photos of themselves and what they loved doing at that age: