Young people legal issues strategies and resources
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Young people & legal issues Strategies and Resources. Centrelink issues Child protection case planning Police complaints Ticketing inspector complaints School suspension, expulsion and discipline. Discrimination in- shopping centres, public transport, police

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Young people & legal issuesStrategies and Resources


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Centrelink issues

Child protection case planning

Police complaints

Ticketing inspector complaints

School suspension, expulsion and discipline

Discrimination in- shopping centres, public transport, police

Consumer: mobile phone contracts

Unpaid fines

Victim compensation, personal injuries (suing someone)

Employment law

Police questioning on the street or at the police station

Victims of crime

Violence in a relationship

Going to Court

Parents splitting up

Wanting to leave home


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RESOURCES: books , fact sheets, booklets, cards

  • Youthlaw: www.youthlaw.asn.au, (03) 9611 2412

  • Lawstuff: www.lawstuff.org.au

  • Online law handbook by Fitzroy Legal Service http://www.lawhandbook.org.au/

  • download or order VLA booklets like “Am I Old Enough?”, “Your Rights: Police powers in Victoria”, “Your day in court”. http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/publications.htm

  • Cards: e.g. Knowing my rights. Treatment by police and Young people and Police – Rights and Responsibilities (Wyndham Legal Service)


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Legal Services available to assist

  • Victoria Legal Aid www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

  • Local Community Legal Centres www.communitylaw.org.au

  • Specialist Community Legal Centres, including Youthlaw www.youthlaw.asn.au

  • Private lawyers/ practitioners: find a lawyer via the Law Institute of Victoria, http://www.liv.asn.au/directory/


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How Victoria Legal Aid can help

Advice at VLA offices across Victoria http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/298.htm

VLA Legal Information Service

  • free general information over the phone about the law & how they can help.

  • Open Monday to Friday, 8.45 am to 5.15 pm, (03) 9269 0120 or 1800 677 402 (country callers).

  • They give legal information in different languages

  • You can speak to someone in English or ask for an interpreter.

  • May refer to appropriate VLA Service (Youth Legal Service,Human Rights and Civil Service, Family and Criminal Law Service) or CLC, or private lawyer


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VLA - Duty lawyers at Court

  • Criminal matters in magistrates and children’s courts, legal support often provided by VLA duty lawyers based at court.

  • Most courts have a duty lawyers, and you can ring relevant courthouse or local VLA office for details.

  • If preparation is necessary the matter may be adjourned and client probably be given an appointment with a Legal Aid solicitor.

  • For other types of matters (eg criminal in higher court) a written application must be sent to VLA


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VLA - Legal Aid Assistance

Legal Aid is not available for all types of matters, but is available for :

  • Defendants in criminal cases. Children (under 18) an obtain legal aid whatever their income. Adults must satisfy a means test.

  • Children & parents in matters relating to care and protection of children.

  • Many family law matters. This depends on a means test and also a merits test.

  • (in very special circumstances ) civil cases


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Community Legal Centres (CLC)

If legal aid isn’t available (or is too inflexible to meet the client’s needs) free legal services maybe available at CLCs.

  • over 50 Victorian CLCs, including the African Legal Service at the Footscray Community Legal Service. (03) 9689 8444 , www.communitylaw.org.au/footscray

  • often have fairly stringent guidelines about who they will assist

  • Most focus on helping clients who face economic and social disadvantage and who have nowhere else to go for help.

  • To find a you local CLC: www.communitylaw.org.au or ring (03) 9652 1500


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About Youthlaw

  • specialist state wide CLC

  • free & confidential legal advice to children and young people up to 25 years. www.youthlaw.asn.au, (03) 9611 2412

  • Drop in free legal clinic open 2-5 pm Monday to Friday, based at 19 King Street at Frontyard Youth Services

  • legal information also via phone or via email

  • outreach legal service at the Youth Enterprise Hub in Braybrook

  • new web cam service- Youthlaw Online in Shepparton, Seymour and Cobram


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Other specialist CLCs

Young People

Sunshine Youth Legal Centre at Visy Cares Hub, Sunshine, 9091-8200.

Immigration matters

Refugee Immigration Legal Centre: 03 9483 1140, www.rilc.org.au

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre: T: (03) 9326 6066, www.asrc.org.auEmployment law issues - Job Watch Inc. : 03 9662 1933, www.job-watch.org.au

Tenancy issues: Tenants Union of Victoria: 03 9416 2577, www.tuv.org.au

Consumer law (debt/ contracts) Consumer Action Law Centre: 03 9629 5088, www.consumeraction.org.au

Muslim Legal Services Victoria Inc. (03) 9386 6804, [email protected]


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Case study

Abdi, a 15 year old boy, born in Somalia, visits the local shopping centre with a few mates, and they hang outside the games arcade.

The boys are making a lot of noise joking and carrying on. They are warned by the security guards that if they continue they will have to leave or the police will be called.

One of the shops in the centre has been robbed in the last ten minutes.

10 minutes later the police arrive and approach Abdi and his friends and demand that they show them what is in their bag and pockets.

Abdi gets angry and tells the tells police to ‘get lost’, and pushes them away.

Police say they are arresting Abdi for resisting arrest & take him to the local police station.

While waiting in custody, Abdi’s dad arrives. Police called him to attend the interview.

Abdi and his dad have a bad relationship and Abdi did not want him to know.


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Rights when dealing with Police

  • Ask for name, rank and police station

  • Refuse to answer police questions / say “no comment”

  • Attempt to contact a friend / relative

  • Attempt to obtain legal advice

  • Right to interpreter if do not understand English

  • If a person in custody is under 18 years, an investigating official must not question or carry out an investigation unless -

    • a parent / guardian or independent person (Youth Referral and Independent Person Program http://www.cmy.net.au/YRIPP/YRIPPhome) is present in custody

      AND

    • before questioning, the young person was given the opportunity to communicate with parent / guardian / independent person in circumstances in which as far as practicable the communication will not be overheard


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Rights continued….

  • Refuse to be photographed / participate in an ID line-up

  • Refuse a police search without warrant (unless reasonable grounds to suspect possession of weapon / illegal drug / stolen goods OR if to preserve evidence relating to a crime)

  • Refuse consent to a forensic procedure and have court decide whether necessary

  • Entitled to a copy of taped record of interview or written statement


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After the Interview

  • Police can either:

    • release you without charging you;

    • release you and charge you later - will serve charges at a later date, usually by post (“summons” to court);

    • charge you and release you on bail;

    • charge you and keep you in custody until hearing.

  • Bail:

    • an agreement entered into with the charging police officer that you will attend court to answer charges

    • may have special conditions where needed to prevent another offence / get the person to court


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Leaving the Police Station

  • If person believes they have been mistreated, they have the right to refuse to sign the attendance register.

  • Possible legal processes for mistreatment include:

    • complaint about discrimination to Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission, http://www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au (03) 9281 7100

    • complaint to Office of Police Integrity - internal investigation, 03 8635 6188, www.opi.vic.gov.au

    • civil legal action to recover damages

    • contesting the criminal charges


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