Information

This general information is provided as a guide for young people, parents and caregivers, service professsionals and schools. If you find incorrect information please contact us to have the relevant page updated.

Legal Issues

Young people often encounter legal issues through their interactions with their family members, friends, employers and people in positions of authority.

Some common issues which affect many young people include:

Family violence - violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family, or causes the family member to be fearful

Young people may be the victims of family violence from other family members, witnesses of acts of family violence between their parents, or may have concerns about friends and their families.

Human rights – basic rights that belong to us because we are human beings

Victoria has ‘The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic)’ which protects the human rights of all people in Victoria. All people must be treated with respect, and cannot be discriminated against because of their age, sexuality, religious belief or cultural background.

Infringement fines – penalties for disregarding a regulation or law, for example travelling on public transport without a valid ticket

Fines can be contested if a young person believes an infringement has not occurred or payment plans can be negotiated if required.

Sexting – the act of sending sexually explicit messages or images by mobile phone

Young people may have participated in this activity without understanding the legal and social consequences.

Strategies

Community legal centres can provide community legal education (CLE) programs to school and community groups on any of these topics. A general topic ‘Youth and the Law’ is also available.

Young people can make appointments to receive individual legal advice if they have a specific concern. Parents do not need to attend or be informed.

Professionals

  • If your school or community group has broad concerns regarding a legal issue (for example, sexting between students) a community legal centre can deliver a community legal education (CLE) program tailored to your group.
  • If you become aware of a young person with a specific legal issue (for example, family violence) a referral can be made to one of the services listed below for individual advice.

Children/Adolescents

  • If you are scared about your physical safety because of threatening behaviour by another family member, you should seek assistance immediately. Talk to a teacher, a youth worker or someone else you trust.
  • If you would like to know how to make a complaint against a service provider, or have concerns about any of the issues listed above, contact one of the numbers in this booklet and make an appointment. It is better to ask for help early rather than waiting until the situation becomes more serious. For example, hiding your fines in a drawer won’t make them go away. It is better to talk to someone about arranging a payment plan.

People under 18 years of age can only be questioned by police with another independent adult present. The  ‘Youth Referral and Independent Person Program (YRIPP)’ can support you in police interviews if your parent or guardian is not available to be with you.