Help with fines for youth in Melbourne’s West

Disadvantaged youth in Melbourne’s west will soon have help to contest public transport fines through the Sunshine Youth Legal Centre.

Supported by a grant from Victoria Law Foundation, Sunshine Youth Legal Centre will partner with local schools to find out why young people are accruing transport fines, and the reasons they can’t pay them.

It will also look at how schools and Public Transport Victoria can help make these laws clearer, and test negotiations to have several fines waived at once.

‘Roughly half the people coming to our legal centre are here because of unpaid fines’, said Sunshine Youth Legal Centre Clinical Legal Supervisor Michael McKiterick.

‘We need to know why the law in this area is not working. Part of the reason is probably that the system isn’t clear. Better education is one way to address this’, said Mr McKiterick.

This grant is one of four awarded by Victoria Law Foundation as part of its latest funding round for projects, which help the community better understand the law.

In addition to the Sunshine Youth Legal Centre, the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, Youthlaw, and the Fitzroy Legal Service will all share $130,000 in grant funding.

‘Our mission is to make the law easier to understand for all Victorians’, said Victoria Law Foundation Executive Director Joh Kirby.

‘All these projects will provide people with support to better use their legal system to improve their lives – whether that’s about negotiating fines, accessing information through new technologies or being better prepared to represent themselves in court’, Ms Kirby said.

The foundation has two general grants rounds each year, with the next round due to close on Monday 8 September 2014. To find out more, visit www.victorialawfoundation.org.au/grants.

To contact the Sunshine Youth Legal Centre, call (03) 9091 8239 or email michael@footscrayclc.org.au.

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This page was last updated on October 14, 2014