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Students Fight Against Child Incarceration

Did you know that in Australia, children as young as ten are being arrested by police, charged with an offence, hauled before a court, and locked away in prison? Furthermore, Western Australia also has the highest over-representation of Aboriginal people in custody in the nation. 

To raise awareness of this horrible reality, our Year 10 Religious Education (RE) Reach students threw their support behind Social Reinvestment WA, a coalition of twenty not-for-profits who aim to reduce the number of people sent to prison.

Students participated in the organisation’s Mother’s Day campaign, which aimed to bring awareness to child incarceration with the hope of raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility to fourteen years old.  

Last Friday, the girls placed Mother’s Day cards in each of our female staff members pigeonholes and were busy taking photographs around campus, conveying a very powerful message: 

The girls strongly believe that no child should be sent far away from their family, community, and culture. Instead, society should be supporting them. Students feel that as a community, we are responsible for caring for the most vulnerable, particularly children.

We asked some students why they felt so compelled to participate in this campaign. Here is what they had to say:

During English back in Term 1, we watched a documentary called ‘In My Blood It Runs’. This was about young Aboriginal kids being put into juvenile detention as early as the age of 10 for minor incidents. Through the Mother’s Day Campaign we facilitated for Social Reinvestment, we hope to help #RaiseTheAge to 14. We are super invested and enthusiastic about helping mothers have more time with their children and do the work of raising them with the values that can change poor behaviour.  Kate

I was pleased to take photos of members of the College Executive Leadership Team to show their support for the Social Reinvestment Campaign #RaiseTheAge. Nina 

Watching the documentary “In My Blood It Runs” made me really want to get involved in the Social Reinvestment campaign. It made me learn and understand how young Aboriginals are under the threat of being imprisoned as young as 10 years old. It is very real for them. I believe the age should be lifted to at least 14 years of age. Tanika

“In My Blood It Runs” encouraged me to take part in this campaign. The documentary gave me a very real insight into how this affects the families of young Aboriginal children, and it is our mission to stop that and raise the age to fourteen. Georgia

Our Year 10 RE Reach class looked at the Social Reinvestment Campaign and we decided to act quickly just before Mother’s Day, as children should be able to spend time with their mothers and family’s without fearing imprisonment at such a young age. #RaiseTheAge. Jorja

This campaign has made me really think about young Aboriginals and how their childhood is different to ours with the prospect of being in juvenile prison at such a young age, which is 10 years old. Makayla

Rosa Speranza, Religious Education and Italian Teacher, also added, “When a young person ends up in prison, society is failing – to teach them, protect them, and provide for their basic needs. By raising the age, we can ensure young children get the support they need and are empowered to create their own future.

Let’s take action together and raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 14 years old.

For more information, visit Social Reinvestment WA’s website here.

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