Rural Youth and the Law Forum

How well does the justice system respond to issues for young people in rural and regional communities?

21 August 2013

The Centre for Rural Regional Law and Justice at Deakin University hosted a free rural law forum discussing the successes and challenges of rural youth and the law.

The panel will discussed current needs and initiatives aimed at improving access to justice system services and programs for young people in Rural Victoria. We will also heard about the role of the recently established Victorian Commission for Children and Young People as it relates to rural youth.

This forum was hosted from Melbourne and video conferenced to 10 locations across Victoria.

Panel members included:

Bernie Geary, Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People
Bernie Geary OAM has worked with vulnerable young people and their families for over 40 years. During this time he has been an advisor and advocate on issues relating to vulnerable children, young people and their families. He has previously served on the Victorian Youth Parole Board.

Judge Peter Couzens, President of the Children's Court of Victoria.
Prior to his appointment in May of this year, Judge Couzens served for over 20 years as a Magistrate in Victoria, most recently based in Ballarat as Co-ordinating Magistrate for the Grampians region


Katrina Wong, Lawyer, Youth Law
Youth Law aims to provide an accessible legal service to young people, focusing on areas of unmet legal need. To address systemic legal and social justice issues in Victoria through community education, advocacy and law reform both for and with young people and their advocates.

Jen Morris, Human Rights Officer, Youth Disability Advocacy Service
The Youth Disability Advocacy Service is a state wide service for young people with disabilities in Victoria.

Information on the services these organisations can provide are available via the following links.


Commissioner for Children and Young People

Youth Disability Advocacy Service

Children's Court of Victoria



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