Did you know that kids in Australia as young as 10 years old can be put in prison? That means kids in Year 4. It’s called the minimum age of criminal responsibility. In most countries, it’s 14. The UN says it should not be younger than 12.
The age of criminal responsibility is in the power of both the Commonwealth (federal, or national) government and individual States and Territories. At the moment, children under 10 are considered to be too young to be held responsible for crimes. From 10 years old, children can be imprisoned for crimes if a court decides they knew what they were doing was wrong.
But doctors and lawyers say that children under 14 can’t be fully responsible, because even if they know they are doing something wrong, they can’t control themselves to stop doing it.
You can help by talking to grownups you know and letting them know that the kids in detention are not evil people, but just #KidsLikeUs. Also, you can write to the Premier or Chief Minister, and the Attorney-General in your State or Territory. You can also write to the Prime Minister and the federal Attorney-General, the Hon Christian Porter MP, because there are some federal crimes as well. Here are some letters that we have written.
The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister
The Hon Christian Porter MP, Attorney-General
Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600
Mr. Andrew Barr MLA, Chief Minister
Mr Gordon Ramsay MLA, Attorney-General
GPO Box 1020, Canberra, ACT 2601
New South Wales
Ms Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier
Mr Mark Speakman MP, Attorney-General
Parliament House, 6 Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
The Hon Michael Gunner, Chief Minister
(There is no Attorney-General yet as they just had an election)
GPO Box 3146, Darwin, NT 0801
The Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier
The Hon Yvette D’Ath, Attorney-General
cnr George and Alice Streets, Brisbane, QLD 4000
The Hon Steven Marshall MP, Premier
The Hon Vickie Chapman MP, Attorney-General
GPO Box 572, Adelaide, SA 5001
The Hon Peter Gutwein, Premier
The Hon Elise Archer, Attorney-General
Parliament House, Hobart, TAS 7000
The Hon Daniel Andrews MP, Premier
The Hon Jill Hennessy MP, Attorney-General
Parliament House, Spring Street, East Melbourne, VIC 3002
The Hon Mark McGowan MLA, Premier
The Hon Robert Quigley MLA, Attorney-General
GPO Box A11, Perth, WA 6837