Jesuit Social Services has joined more than 75 social services, legal and human rights organisations to call on all levels of government to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years as a matter of urgency.
Julie Edwards, chief executive of Jesuit Social Services, said the organisation was “standing alongside many of our sector colleagues who, like Jesuit Social Services, work every day with vulnerable children who have contact with the criminal justice system”.
“We are highlighting the body of evidence that supports the need to raise the age, and we are urging our political leaders across the country to commit to supporting children in the community, keeping them connected with family and school, and giving them every opportunity to get their lives back on track, Ms Edwards said.
Almost 50 submissions, including one by Jesuit Social Services, to the Council of Attorneys-General in support of raising the age of criminal responsibility were released yesterday.
“These submissions highlight the unique disadvantage and vulnerability of children in prison, and show that supporting children in the community can prevent them from having a lifetime of contact with the criminal justice system,” Ms Edward said.
“The fact that Australian states and territories currently incarcerate children as young as 10 harms children, and in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, who are sadly 22 times more likely to be in detention than non-Indigenous children. These laws are discriminatory, and out of step with human rights standards and medical science on child development,” she said.
Time is now for all Governments to #RaiseTheAge (Jesuit Social Services)