YAC offers free legal services, youth support and family support assistance and services to young people generally 10 to 18 years (inclusive) particularly those who are involved in, or are at risk of involvement in, the youth justice and/or the child protection systems, and/or are homeless or at risk of homelessness and live in or around the greater Brisbane region. We provide more limited support to those under 10 and over 18 years of age; and to young people outside of Brisbane via telephone, website and publications. (See individual programs for specific age focus and geographical coverage relevant to each program.)
YAC can assist young people with:
- legal hassles – including being charged with breaking the law or child protection issues.
- problems at home or school
- lack of accommodation and/or income
- being the victim of a crime (including abuse)
- discrimination issues
- general hassles
All YAC’s services are:
- Voluntary– YAC only works with a young person if they want to work with YAC staff; and
- Confidential – no contact is made with anyone (eg families, teachers, police, other adults) and no information about the young person is passed on to anyone else without the young person’s permission (unless there is a serious risk of significant and immediate harm to the young person or someone else).
YAC also helps to link young people up with other services in the community that can assist them where appropriate.
Solicitors from YAC can:
- give legal advice on a range of matters which affect young people
- go to court with young people – Children’s Court (criminal and child protection matters) and sometimes higher courts in relation to criminal matters
- visit young people in detention
- assist young people in relation to suspension or exclusion from school
(Nb: the age limit for criminal matters is 10-16 years as Queensland is the only Australian jurisdiction where 17 year olds are treated as adults, contrary to Australia’s international commitments)
YOUTH SUPPORT SERVICES
The Youth Support Advocate (YSA) can provide young people with information, advice, referral and support and advocacy and in particular can:
- help young people who are homeless or risk of homelessness with housing support, education and income hassles
- support young people at court (both childrens and high courts, tribunals and hearings), including writing a report for the court where appropriate
- provide outreach support including visiting young people in detention (including transition support to young people exiting detention)
- transitional support, advocacy and practical assistance to young people within, and leaving, the child protection and youth justice systems
- support young people who have been a victim of crime
- undertake intensive personal support
FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES
The Family Support Advocate (FSA) can provide information, advice, referral and support and advocacy for young people and their families and in particular can:
advocate on behalf of individual young people within their families as well as in relation to court and schools, especially suspension and exclusion matters
- undertake individual and family counselling
- provide court support for young people and their families in relation to youth justice matters, including writing a report for the court where appropriate
- work on family relationships and the young person’s issues within and external to their family (The Three Rs” – Rebuild, Relationships, Respect)
The FSA also runs peer support groups for parents – ParenTEEN – for parents and carers: a 6-8 week program depending on the needs of the group.
YOUTH BAIL ACCOMMODATION SUPPORT SERVICE (YBASS)
YBASS staff work with young people aged 10 – 16 years who have committed or are alleged to have committed an offence. Their priority is young people where accommodation problems mean that they may not be released on bail, including those who have already been remanded in custody at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre. YBASS can assist young people
- to access safe, secure and appropriate accommodation and maintain that accommodation
- comply with their bail conditions, in particular through accessing services or programs relevant to their needs and involvement in positive activities and engagement with school, training or employment
They can also assist families and carers with whom the young person is living to support the placement.
LEGAL EDUCATION SERVICES
The Community Legal Education (CLE) lawyer delivers:
- information sessions for young people in schools, alternative learning programs, youth agencies or similar
- information sessions for welfare agency staff, lawyers, social workers, teachers, students and other interested groups about YAC and basic legal information
- lectures, workshops and papers on request in relation to young people and the law
- in conjunction with the Youth Support Advocate, practical workshops for those who work with young people on legal issues relevant to young people and how the law impacts on their work and decision making as workers with young people – Laying Down the Law. Click on FOR WORKERS for more info.
Young people and workers can also access info about the law through:
- a series of information sheets to answer young people’s most commonly asked questions about the law and legal issues are available at the LEGAL INFO tab in the menu at the top of this page.
- Information sheets from to help workers working with young people better understand key legal issues. Go to RESOURCES FOR WORKERS for more info.
ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
As well as advocating in individual cases, YAC also supports the development of a social and legal system that is more responsive and appropriate to the needs of children and young people and which takes account of their developmental and situational issues and Australia’s international obligations. To that end, it contributes to public debate on these issues as appropriate.
- YAC Vision & Mission Statement
- Our 2016 Annual Report
- Complaints Policy click here