Frequently Asked Questions
Why Raise The Age?
What we do now hurts kids, families and communities. And it does not make our communities safer.
In NSW, kids as young as 10 can be arrested and held by police. The earlier children come into contact with the system, the more likely it is that they have ongoing contact with the system, causing ongoing trauma.
By trapping children in the legal system and abusing their trust, we are fracturing our communities. Each time we lock up a child instead of supporting them we set ourselves up for a future with more adults stuck in a cycle of imprisonment.
Who is running the campaign?
First Nations organisations, peak bodies, frontline services, workers, human rights advocates and legal experts have come together because we not only understand the issues - we can also build a better way.
The campaign in NSW is led by 13 key organisations and we are inviting other organisations and supporters to join us.
What if a child does something serious?
When a child behaves in a way that is dangerous to themself or others, they need proven, child-centred interventions and supports that give better outcomes for the child and their community.
It is rare for a child aged under 14 years to be charged with a serious offence of violence.
Where a child is alleged to have caused harm to another, this is a sign of something having gone wrong in that child’s life.
Violent behaviour by young children is often directly linked to experiences of trauma, neglect, and harm or unaddressed mental or physical health problems.
Rather than criminalise trauma, it is the responsibility of our governments to provide children with services that can address the underlying causes of their behaviour and set them on a better path. The worst place for a child to be, in any circumstance, is prison.
There are services and programs that are more responsive to the needs of children and effective in addressing problematic behaviours. Critically, these are therapeutic and developmentally appropriate, rather than punitive.
What should we do when a child does something wrong?
Doctors say children aged under 14 years lack the emotional, mental and neurological maturity to really understand the consequences of their actions. This is why arresting and locking kids up is not only cruel – it does not work.
When children’s brains are still developing throughout these formative years, they need age-appropriate, therapeutic responses to their actions.
There are lots of evidence-based programs and supports that help children to grow and flourish.
What do we want?
Children and communities need to be supported to flourish and thrive.
Our group is made up of services, communities, people with lived experience and experts who know the issues and can work with the government to build a better way. Together we can do far better for children and communities.
We need the NSW Government to raise the age of criminal responsibility in NSW to at least 14 without exception.
What can you do?
We are inviting organisations and individuals who support raising the age of criminal responsibility to join us – we will ask supporters to take actions and show support.
Together we can Raise The Age in NSW.