Before commencing any questioning of a person under the age of 18 suspected of committing an offence, police in Victoria must arrange for an independent adult person to be present. If a parent or guardian is not available police will require an Independent Person.
Victoria Police members at the YRIPP stations can access YRIPP Independent Persons 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by telephoning:
1300 79 11 89
This number is also available on the YRIPP station posters which have been provided to every police station.
Police at a YRIPP station must use 1300 79 11 89 rather than contact Independent Person's individually.
When police call the number to request an Independent Person, the operator will ask some screening questions to ensure that the job is appropriate for a YRIPP Independent Person.
These include questions to establish:
- whether the young person is a potential defendant in a criminal matter (as opposed to a victim or witness);
- whether the young person might have an intellectual disability, mental illness, acquired brain injury or dementia and would require an Independent Third Person instead ;
- how many young persons are to be interviewed. If more then one YRIPP tries to organise an IP for each young person to attend if possible.
Following this, the operator will ask the police member the:
- Location of the interview;
- Informant’s name, rank and contact number; and
- Young persons first name
The Operator will then immediately telephone the first rostered Independent Person. If required, the operator will progress down the list of Independent Persons to find an Independent Person who is able to take the job.
According to YRIPP policy the Independent Person should usually be able to attend within 30 minutes of your call. This may be longer in some circumstances.
If the young person has a cognitive disability
In Victoria, any person in police custody who is believed to have an intellectual disability, mental illness, acquired brain injury or dementia, must be interviewed in the presence of an Independent Third Person (such as a relative, friend or trained independent third person not associated with the inquiry). Note the difference between an ‘Independent Person’ and an ‘Independent Third Person’.
YRIPP Independent Persons cannot act as ITPs unless they are appropriately trained and registered with the Office of the Public Advocate.
The role of the Independent Third Person (ITP) is to facilitate communication and provide support. The ITP should play an active role in providing emotional support, participating in the interview in an interpretative capacity, and ensuring that the person understands their rights and the caution.
ITPs are available by calling the same number 1300 79 11 89. Also available 24 hours a day.
For further information about the Independent Third Person Program please contact:
Office of the Public Advocate
204 Lygon Street
Carlton Victoria 3053
24 hour emergency service
9603 9500 (phone) 1300 309 337(cost of local call)