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VLA forum: Improving Access to Legal Services for CLD Young People June 5 th, 2009 Carmel Guerra, CEO, CMY Sally Reid, Manager Program.

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Presentation on theme: "VLA forum: Improving Access to Legal Services for CLD Young People June 5 th, 2009 Carmel Guerra, CEO, CMY Sally Reid, Manager Program."— Presentation transcript:

1 VLA forum: Improving Access to Legal Services for CLD Young People June 5 th, 2009 Carmel Guerra, CEO, CMY Sally Reid, Manager Program Innovation, CMY

2 Barriers to accessing legal services Language Lack of access to information Lack of awareness of available services Experience of Legal system in country of origin Unfamiliarity with the Australian Legal system ie: individual vs collectivist model Cost Influence of the family/community Cultural issues- Age/Gender/Religious beliefs

3 YRIPP – A Case Study What is YRIPP:  Partnership program of CMY, YACVic, Community Legal Centres, UnitingCare, Victoria Police and many other agencies;  Provides simple, reliable allocation of trained, including culturally trained, Independent Persons for police interviews with young people under 18;  Refers those ‘at risk’ to health and welfare support services; &  Provides (through VLA) legal advice services to young people 24/7.

4 Aims:  Work with and improve the existing system of Independent Person support provided to young people in police custody.  Divert young people, including refugee, newly arrived and Indigenous young people, from progression to higher levels of the criminal justice system, based on culturally appropriate early intervention and diversion support. YRIPP – A Case Study

5 Current Status:  Been operating for 5 years  Operational in 100 police stations across Victoria  Over 300 trained and active volunteers across Victoria  Providing IPs for around 170 vulnerable young people every month (26% culturally diverse and 10% Indigenous young people)  VLA providing legal advice to 11 young people per month through YRIPP legal advice line YRIPP – A Case Study

6 How it began…  Over-representation of young people in the justice system  Increasing numbers of newly arrived and refugee young people coming to the attention of police  Early intervention: The first interview with police is an ideal diversionary opportunity  Inconsistent and sometimes inappropriate performance of the role YRIPP – A Case Study

7 The Community Development Approach- How we did It  Acknowledge and include existing work and players  Consult, communicate and engage with community  Establish an evidence base and need  Identify benefit of the new approach (in our case to young people and police)  Build good will and mutual trust  Leadership/administrative role required- neutral  Joint advocacy strategy

8 Meeting the needs of CLD young people Having YRIPP auspiced by CMY has helped to ensure a focus on cultural diversity. Theory: If program is appropriate for culturally diverse young people, it can be generalised to mainstream young people (but this does not work in reverse)

9 How does YRIPP work to ensure access to justice for refugee and migrant young people?  Ensuring all volunteers are trained to work with young people from diverse cultural backgrounds;  Developing local partnerships with agencies working with refugee young people to:  make culturally appropriate referrals;  Increase the diversity of program volunteers.

10 Working to ensure access to justice for Indigenous young people  VALS involved in program management  All YRIPP volunteers trained in working with Indigenous young people  Local partnerships established with Indigenous agencies to facilitate referral  Ongoing efforts to recruit Indigenous volunteers

11 Learnings  Inform yourself  Make connections with refugee and migrant groups  Embed cultural diversity in program design from the beginning  Partnerships are essential to ensure success- but can be hard work  Outreach to the community  Building trust takes time  Be clear about your role  Accommodate differences


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