• Darwin's Don Dale Youth Detention Centre following a fire. (AAP) ((AAP))Source: (AAP)
The viral campaign has seen social media users post pictures of their 10-year-old selves in protest against Australia's age of criminal responsibility.
Douglas Smith

28 Jul 2021 - 6:22 PM  UPDATED 28 Jul 2021 - 6:22 PM

A social media campaign aimed at raising the Australian age of criminal responsibility has gone viral on Twitter.

Users are posting photos of themselves at 10-years-old with the #raisetheage hashtag. 

In all states and territories in Australia, children as young as 10 can be arrested and locked in detention by law. 

On 26 July last year, state and territory attorneys-general deferred a long-awaited decision to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14, citing the need for more time to explore alternatives to incarceration. 

Now, the push to raise the age of criminal responsibility by human rights groups and Indigenous advocates is growing on social media, with #RaiseTheAge trending on Twitter as advocates post photos of themselves, calling for change. 

People from all walks of life are joining in on the trend, which has been gaining momentum since Monday, exactly one year on from the deferral.

Arrernte writer Celeste Liddle tweeted a photo of herself at 12-years-old, and took aim at Australia's attorneys-general. 

Melbourne lawyer and human rights advocate, Kon Karapanagiotidis raised the issue of children being on remand, where some children have been locked up for six to eight months and were yet to be convicted. 

There have been ongoing calls to change the laws, which disproportionately impact Indigenous children, since it became a recommendation of the 2016 Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory. 

In 2018-2019, 60 per cent of all children in detention were Indigenous. Of all 10-year-olds imprisoned in 2020, 80 per cent were Indigenous. 

According to Amnesty, Australia’s current criminal law treatment of children violates their human rights, under the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. 

The ACT is the only jurisdiction to make any commitment to change in the last 12 months, with no indication that other states and territories would follow suit. 

The federal government meanwhile has stated there is "no public update on the progress of this work".

Renewed push to raise criminal age of responsibility
Its been a year since federal, state and territory attorneys-general met to discuss raising the age to 14, which would bring the nation in line with international standards.