Governance

YAC (Youth Advocacy Centre Inc) is an incorporated association under Queensland’s Associations Incorporation Act 1981 with responsibilities under the Act.

YAC has a constitution, or set of rules which are legally binding, for the running of the organisation. You can get a copy of the Constitution(which was updated with the pro bono assistance of Blakes, Solicitors, in October 2011) by contacting YAC.

YAC also operates in accordance with the following Vision, Mission Statement, Philosophy and Aims and Objectives

VISION

That the community accepts collective responsibility for the importance, empowerment, rights, well-being and humanity of its young people.

MISSION

To increase young people’s access to justice, both legal and social, by speaking out for, and supporting, young people.

 

ORGANISATIONAL PHILOSOPHY

With respect to service delivery

Children and young people are a vulnerable group requiring special consideration. They are reliant for their existence, health and wellbeing on the adults around them. They are in a process of development, physically and mentally, and this process is significantly affected by the adults around them. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Australia is a signatory, reinforces that children are entitled to all the fundamental rights and freedoms that adults have but additionally that they require specific protections because of their immaturity and their reliance on adults.

YAC is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child in any dealings with a young person, in particular:

  • The right of young people to be treated equally irrespective of “colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status”
  • The right of a young person to have an opinion and to be heard in all matters affecting the young person
  • Consideration of the best interests of the young person to include consideration of the views of the young person.

A young person has the right to an advocate to rebut any allegations made and/or to put forward their views in any matter which affects them, irrespective of whether they are alleged or found to have transgressed the legal or other systems in some way or they are the victim of a specific act, situation or a systemic problem.

YAC is committed to the principle that the best interests of a young person can only be ensured if justice is not only done to the young person but, more importantly, that the young person perceives that justice has been done. YAC recognises that young people’s interaction with the legal system is frequently because of social circumstances and difficulties in their life and that the best way to address these issues is to work with the young person, listening to, and advocating for, their perspective.

In accordance with Australian law, if a young person is considered to be “Gillick competent” in relation to the presenting issues, YAC staff will take instructions from the young person in an endeavour to uphold the rights and wishes of that particular young person. To achieve this, the caseworkers use a collaborative approach between lawyers and the youth and family support workers.

With respect to its staff

YAC recognises all staff as equal members of the team and collectively responsible for upholding YAC’s philosophy and mission.


OBJECTIVES and STRATEGIES

1.       To maintain and enhance the rights of young people in the legal system.

YAC does this by:

  • providing legal advice and referral to young people in the youth justice and the child protection systems and such other areas of law that can be accommodated.
  • Providing legal advocacy, within the resource constraints of the organisation, for young people in the youth justice system, the child protection system and other such areas of law that can be accommodated, in courts, tribunals or hearings.

2.       To support and assist young people with needs concurrent with their legal issues, such as homelessness and family breakdown.

YAC does this by:

  • assisting, supporting and advocating for young people especially those who are homeless, in family crisis or who are disadvantaged or disempowered in their contact with, or access to, systems such as the legal system, housing, income support and education
  • providing a support service for young people, who are appearing in courts, tribunals or hearings as offenders or victims
  • providing a bail accommodation support service for young people who would otherwise be placed in detention on remand
  • providing support and family intervention services to young people and their families where appropriate

3.       To enable young people to better understand, use and benefit from the law and the legal system.

YAC does this by:

  • providing legal and life/work skills information, education and training to young people and those working with or supporting young people

4.       To contribute to discussions which lead to a socio-legal system which is more responsive and appropriate to the needs of young people.

YAC does this by:

  • undertaking, sponsoring and publicising critical research and providing evidence based comment and expert opinions in relation to laws, and legal and social welfare systems and processes and their impact on young people to Government and the community.
  • making local communities aware of the problems facing young people, particularly those at risk, and to promote strategies which encourage communities to take responsibility for their young people.
  • promoting through advocacy and education the rights of young people including the comprehensive implementation throughout Queensland of international human rights standards including those in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

5.       To provide and maintain the highest quality service to young people.

YAC does this by:

  • ensuring the ongoing viability of the centre; effective governance, sound financial and administrative systems; and professional development and support of its staff.

Annual Reports

YAC reports each year on its work and finances

YAC 2009/10 Annual Report

YAC 2010/11 Annual Report

YAC 2011/12 Annual Report

YAC 2013/14 Annual Report

YAC 2014/15 Annual Report

MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

  • Management Committee  is responsible for the overall running of the organisation and meets generally about every 6 weeks. It is made up of members of the community who voluntarily give of their time to take this role.  See the document below for the current Management Committee members.
  • Members are elected to the Committee at YAC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is usually held around October. If you are interested in a role on the committee, please go to CONTACT US

Management Committee 2016

Members

Position

Background

Damien Atkinson

Chairperson

Barrister

Kerrie Mattiske

Treasurer

Accountant/Lawyer

Janet Wight

Secretary

Director (Lawyer)

Jan Duffy

Committee Member

Social Worker

Steve Hutchinson

Committee Member

State Manager

Beth Toon

Committee Member

General Manager (Design Company)

Fiona Meagher

Committee Member

Lawyer

Ned Perricelli

Staff Representative

YBASS Co-ordinator