“I would like to sincerely thank Lachlan (YRIPP volunteer) for his attendance at Melbourne East police station yesterday afternoon to attend an interview with my son. I am really thankful that such a services as YRIPP exists.”– A parent
Features of YRIPP
YRIPP builds on the success of previous IP programs (e.g. the Werribee Independent Person Program) but is the first program in Victoria to set up a statewide infrastructure for the provision of Independent Persons. Through calling a single telephone number, police can be provided with a trained, Independent Person to attend the police station usually within 30 minutes.
From the same number, the young person in custody can receive free telephone legal advice from a rostered solicitor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, provided by Victorian Legal Aid. Police can also access Independent Third Persons provided by the Office of the Public Advocate
Language diversity and lack of familiarity with the justice system mean many refugee and migrant young people are often not aware of the Victorian legal system. The presence of a culturally trained IP can help diffuse tensions and dispel misconceptions between the young person and police.
YRIPP works in partnership with State and Local Government, Victoria Police and community agencies across the youth, multicultural, Indigenous and legal fields. The diversity of the partnerships enables YRIPP to represent an holistic approach to youth crime prevention. This crime prevention model successfully brings together groups such as:
- Agencies working with migrant and refugee communities with those working with Indigenous communities (the program has successfully integrated a cultural diversity focus in its development and implementation);
- Community Legal Centres and Victoria Police; and
- Federal and State Government Departments.
What is YRIPP’s impact on preventing or reducing crime and/or violence?
YRIPP links young people in with local health and welfare support services, aiming to reduce the risk factors and increase the protective factors associated with youth offending. The referral to specialist services by a trained IP, is of particular benefit to refugee young people who may experience isolation from families and their cultural community. As a significant number of Independent Person callouts result in a referral it is anticipated that the program will improve community safety in the long term.
YRIPP reduces the time that police need to spend on administrative duties (e.g. finding and waiting for an Independent Person, explaining the role of the Independent Person to the IP etc). As a result, Police can focus their attention on tasks more targeted towards reducing offending and violence by young people.
Before their arrival in Australia, newly arrived refugee young people and their families have had frightening encounters with police and the justice system, having witnessed or experienced trauma, torture and violence. The attendance of trained IPs assists in providing a supportive and non threatening environment which can help diffuse tensions and dispel misconceptions between the young offender and law enforcement personnel.
YRIPP has trained hundreds of Victorians in issues relating to young people and youth offending. It has given them a much better understanding than they previously had of the factors which put young people at risk of offending and the nature of youth offending.
YRIPP won the Victorian Government’s Community Safety and Crime Prevention Award for Enhancing Safety in Indigenous and Diverse Communities (2004).
In 2008, YRIPP was shortlisted for the Australian Human Rights Medal (Community Organisation) by the Australian Human Rights Commission.