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«May 2012 Am I old enough? Common legal issues for young people This booklet covers what you can and can’t do because of your age Am I old enough? ...»

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• arrest a person found drunk or drunk and disorderly in a designated place • remove a person from the designated place if the protective services officer believes on reasonable grounds that the person is committing an offence that is a danger or annoyance to the public, or is getting in the way of a police officer, protective services officers or transport employee • use reasonable force when doing their job.

Protective services officers only have these powers when they are working in and around train stations – in designated areas.

Victoria Legal Aid and Youthlaw will publish updated information about protective services officers on our websites so keep checking

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Am I old enough?

Common legal issues for young people Where to get more help and information  Youthlaw – call 9611 2412, email info@youthlaw.asn.au or visit www.youthlaw.asn.au  Public Transport Ombudsman Victoria – call 8623 2111 or 1800 466 865 (country callers) TTY: 1800 809 623  Public Transport Users Association – call 9650 7898 or www.ptua.org.au  Youth Referral and Independent Person Program (YRIPP) – support for young people under 18 being held in police custody. Call 1300 791 189 or visit www.cmy.net.au/YRIPP/YRIPPHome  For up-to-date information about protective services officers see the

Victoria Legal Aid and Youthlaw websites:

- www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/newlaw.htm

- www.youthlaw.asn.au

You might want a copy of our free booklet:

• Police powers: your rights in Victoria.

For copies call 9269 0223 or visit www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/publications Victoria Legal Aid Legal Help – call 9269 0120 or 1800 677 402 (country callers), Monday to Friday, 8.45 am to 5.15 pm Courts and tribunals Courts and tribunals are where arguments are sorted out and decisions are made. A court may be asked to decide where you will live or whether you committed a crime, or you can ask for help from a court if you believe your rights have been violated. Talk to a lawyer.

What happens if I am taken to court?

By the police

You can be taken to the Children’s Court if the police:

• charge you before your 18th birthday and • you go to court before your 19th birthday.

If you’re older you’ll go to the Magistrates’ Court. The police can’t charge you if you’re under 10.

If you’re 19 or over, the Children’s Court must still hear your case if it began in the Children’s Court when you were under 19, unless the court thinks there are exceptional circumstances (very good reasons) not to.

If the police have charged you with an offence, get legal help as quickly as possible. Talk to a lawyer. See ‘Where to get help’ on page 83.

For unpaid fines The Children and Young Persons Infringement Notice System (CAYPINS) Courts and tribunals in the Children’s Court deals with unpaid infringement notices (fines).

Infringements can include not having a valid train ticket or driving a car without a licence.

Am I old enough?

Common legal issues for young people By someone else Someone can sue you if you hurt them or caused them to lose money because of something you did. But the court will only hold you responsible if, at your age, you should have known that what you did would cause that damage or loss.

A person under 18 can only sue another person by getting an adult, usually their parents or guardian, to do it for them.

By the Department of Human Services If the Department of Human Services thinks you’re unsafe because your parents or guardian don’t or can’t look after you, you may be taken to the Children’s Court. This is a welfare case, not a criminal case, so you’re not in trouble. You will go to the Family Division of the court.

See also ‘Am I old enough to leave home?’ (page 22), ‘What happens if a child is being abused or neglected?’ (page 43).

Legal advice before court It’s always a good idea to get legal advice before going to court.

For example:

• if the police want to interview you • if the Department of Human Services wants you or your family to sign an agreement that means you or a parent have to leave home.

Legal advice after court Sometimes you may need legal advice after a court case is over.

For example:

• if you don’t understand what happened at court • if you disagree with what happened at court and you want to find out about changing the decision.

There are strict time limits for changing a court decision, so act quickly to get legal advice. See ‘Where to get help’ on the next page.

Where to get help There are many ways to get free legal information and advice. There are lots of people and organisations who can help you. If you need information, don’t be shy – go get it.

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and then ask for the phone number you need. Include the area code.

Federation of Community Legal Centres The Federation will be able to give you the phone number of the community legal centre nearest you.

Tel: 9652 1500 Victorian Aboriginal Legal service (24 hours) For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Tel: 9419 3888 or 1800 064 865 (free call) Youthlaw Tel: 9611 2412 Email: info@youthlaw.asn.au

Useful websites with legal information for young people:

• www.lawstuff.org.au • www.legalaid.vic.gov.au • www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au – follow link to ‘Know Your Rights’ • www.youthlaw.asn.au If you live in the country, there are local organisations that may be able to help you. Contact your community information centre, community health centre, youth worker or school counsellor. Check the front section of your telephone book under ‘Community Services’.

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Am I old enough?

Common legal issues for young people More information Victoria Legal Aid has free booklets for the public with legal information on topics such as intervention orders, police powers, family law and going to court.

Visit www.legalaid.vic.gov.au to order or download or telephone 9269 0223 to find out more.

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