Stawell volunteers sought for youth referral program

The Youth Referral and Independent Persons Program (YRIPP) is currently on the lookout for volunteers in Stawell.

A police interview is not a place you would expect to find a community volunteer. However, when a young person is arrested and interviewed by police, they can count on the support of an Independent Person.

The Youth Referral and Independent Person Program (YRIPP) is a unique initiative that supports young people in police interviews in Victoria.

The program is a State Government funded initiative of the Centre for Multicultural Youth and the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, delivered in partnership with Community Legal Centres, UnitingCare and Victoria Police. As part of the program YRIPP recruits, trains and supports volunteers to be Independent Persons (IPs).

YRIPP volunteers help to divert young people, including Aboriginal and newly arrived migrant and refugee young people, from the criminal justice system by referring them to local support services. Volunteers help some of Victoria's most vulnerable young people at a critical time, when a parent or guardian is not available.

In addition YRIPP provides resources for police and parents, and facilitates access to a free 24-hour legal advice line run by Victoria Legal Aid, for young people in police custody.

YRIPP services 130 police stations throughout Victoria and currently has 400+ active volunteers that support over 3000 young people in police custody each year.

"YRIPP volunteers are fully trained and receive ongoing support to help young people at a really scary time. We are looking for committed individuals who want to make a difference," YRIPP Manager Sarah Nicholson said.

YRIPP is currently seeking volunteers to train as IPs. IPs are independent of police and the justice system and are trained in police and legal processes and working with young people.

As well as sitting in on police interviews with young people under 18 years, volunteers link young people into support services to reduce their chances of reoffending.

People interested in volunteering are encouraged to contact YRIPP on 03 9340 3777 or visit www.yripp.org.au

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