Funding will be boosted to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to stay out of the justice system.
Attorney-General Jill Hennessy visited WEstjustice in Werribee to announce $480,000 will be provided to the community organisation to deliver the Youth Law – Breaking Cycles of Disadvantage for Young People program over three years.
WEstjustice will use the funding to tackle deeply entrenched cycles of disadvantage by addressing issues young people face-many of which have a legal dimension.
The funding has come from the Victorian Legal Service Board’s Grants Program, and will facilitate the establishment of a new role that will co-ordinate the activity of WEstjustice and other legal sector organisations that are working on similar or related youth law programs.
By collaborating with other organisations across the sector to design and roll out innovative programs, WEstjustice will use the funding to pool resources, avoiding duplication and missed opportunities.
WEstjustice has been instrumental in improving the lives of these young people through innovative initiatives like the School Lawyer Program, the Transport Assistance Program, and its outreach to young people through Youth Law Clinics at the Sunshine Visy Cares Hub and other locations.
These programs have demonstrated promising results for the young people involved, through improved school attendance, decreased recidivism for young offenders, and, critically, lower stress and a greater sense of control.
As stated by Attorney-General Jill Hennessy
“There are many young people that are trying to break out of cycles of disadvantage. This grant will provide legal services to these young people who need it most.”
“We’re supporting a program that will help young people access legal assistance and provide early intervention in order to avoid contact with the justice system.”