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Home » News » Children belong in school yards, not in prison cells.

Children belong in school yards, not in prison cells.

12 April 2023

CEO of Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Nerita Waight spoke with Lola Forester about The #RaiseTheAge campaign. Organisations and legal, medical and human rights groups came together to form a national campaign to push every single state, territory and federal government to change the laws so that children under 14 cannot be sent to prison.

Co-Chair-Letter-to-Vic-Attorney-General-re-Raise-the-Age-2022.pdf (firstpeoplesvic.org)

The #RaiseTheAge campaign was born to change this. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, organisations and activists have been pushing for the age of criminal responsibility to be changed for decades, having seen first hand how locking away young children and removing them from their communities and families only does more damage.

In 2020 a coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and legal, medical and human rights groups came together to form a national campaign to push every single state, territory and federal government to change the laws so that children under 14 cannot be sent to prison. These organisations included the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, Change the Record, Human Rights Law Centre, Law Council of Australia, Amnesty International Australia, Australian Medical Association, Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association, Public Health Association of Australia and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. The campaign is now supported by over 100 organisations in every state and territory with new groups signing up every week.

Together, we have written thousands of letters and emails, lobbied politicians, built a powerful and diverse alliance, held press conferences, events and rallies, written op-eds, run social media actions and used every opportunity possible to speak out against this injustice across Australia.

Tens of thousands of people have joined the campaign too. Together we are making a huge difference. We have seen the ACT Government commit to raise the age, and there are promising signs in several other states. We will not stop until the federal government and every state and territory has changed the law raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility to at least 14.

Find out more here

https://raisetheage.org.au/

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