Volunteers in the YRIPP program play an essential part in the justice process, by attending police interviews with young people, when a parent or guardian can’t attend. Independent adult volunteers (IPs) are there to compensate for the inherent disadvantage young people in police custody face, when interviewed by police.
At YRIPP, volunteers help some of Victoria’s most vulnerable young people, including Aboriginal and newly arrived refugee and migrant young people, to navigate their interactions with police. A key part of their role is to ensure that the young person knows what is happening, and why.
YRIPP also seeks to divert young people from future offending through early intervention at the point of police contact, by linking them to professional community support.
Steve Turner, a Wyndham Vale resident has been volunteering with the program for over 2 years.
“Every young person I have seen at a Police Station has thanked me for supporting them whilst I was there, regardless of why they were there. The most rewarding experience I have had, is having a young person say to me ‘I want to do what you do, you have helped me so much more than anyone ever has’”.
Steve Turner said about his time as a volunteer: “Young people are learning and can make mistakes just like everyone else. Support and guidance goes a long way.”
YRIPP also provides resources for police and parents, and facilitates access to a FREE 24-hour legal advice line run by Victoria Legal Aid, which can be accessed by any young person in police custody.
YRIPP services over 150 police stations throughout Victoria, including Sunshine and Werribee, and currently hosts over 300 volunteers who support more than 3,500 young people in police custody each year.
The program is currently seeking volunteers to join its ranks in the West. Residents of the West interested in volunteering with YRIPP can call 03 9340 3777 or visit www.yripp.org.au for more information. Full training and supports are provided.
YRIPP is supported by the Victorian Government and delivered by the Centre for Multicultural Youth and the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria in partnership with Community Legal Centres and Victoria Police.