If you need an Independent Person for an interview with a young suspect please call
1300 79 11 89
For further information
Independent Third Persons
Office of the Public Advocate
Level 1, 204 Lygon Street, Carlton Victoria 3053
24 hour emergency service
P | (03) 9603 9500
P | 1300 309 337
How does YRIPP work?
When seeking to formally interview a young person police require the presence of an Independent Person when a parent or guardian cannot or will not attend.
By calling a single 1300 telephone number available at the station, police can request a trained, Independent Person to attend the police station within 30 minutes.
YRIPP reduces the time that police need to find and wait for an Independent Person and removes the need for police to explain the role of the Independent Person to the volunteer. Using YRIPP, police save valuable time when interviewing a young person.
By calling 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 the Independent Third Person’s 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 familiar with the Victorian legal system. The presence of culturally trained IP can help diffuse tensions and dispel misconceptions between the young person and police.
Referrals for young people after the interview
YRIPP volunteers are trained to provide referrals to young person after the interview is completed.
The short referral conversation links young people in with local health and welfare support services, aiming to reduce the risk 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 help reduce re-offending in the long term.
YRIPP builds on the success of pre-existing IP programs but is the first program in Victoria to set up a state wide infrastructure for the provision of Independent Persons. 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.
Role of the Independent Person
The role of the parent, guardian or independent person is an important one. According to Victoria Police Manual – Operations 112.03 “Suspects and offender – interviews and statement”, the role is to:
- Ensure the child’s evidence is accurately recorded;
- Reduce any apprehension felt by the child; and
- Be able to present an independent account of the interview at any court proceedings.
Without doubt it is also the role of the independent person to ensure that the child understands the caution and their rights and is able to make an informed decision as to how to exercise them.
It is not the role of the independent person to determine how the child will respond to the caution or whether they will exercise their rights.
The police have a responsibility to ensure that the independent person understands their role, including the need to ensure they are satisfied the child understands the caution and their rights, before the interview starts. If the independent person does not understand their role, or the meaning of the caution and rights, they are not in a position to act in the role.
Information for Parents and Guardians
Information for parents of guardians is available at all YRIPP police stations. A folder of multilingual information flyers is provided for police to give to the parents or guardians of young people prior to the formal interview. These flyers aim to assist parent of young people to understand the police interview process in Victoria.
Information flyers are available in 18 community languages. Police should assist parents to find the flyer in their own language.
Is YRIPP coming to my station?
YRIPP is currently currently operational in 129 police stations throughout Victoria.
If a police station is not listed as part of the Youth Referral and Independent Person Program but reguarly requires IP’s please contact us.
If the young person has a cognitive disability
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 cautioning statements that the police must make before questioning commences. ITPs are available 24 hours a day by calling the same 1300 number.