Shay-Lee is in her first year of a Bachelor of Human Services and Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice. She spent her Justice Journey at Rockhampton’s Youth Justice Service Centre.

I was lucky enough to be placed in Rockhampton’s Youth Justice Service Centre for a day to shadow the manager, Amber. The Youth Justice team was compromised of youth workers, case workers, court coordinators and administration officers. Everyone demonstrated an invested interest in the wellbeing and rights of our young people.

At the start of the day I was met by Amber and provided with a comprehensive overview of the services the centre provides. Youth Justice Services are diverse. The team works closely with local organisations, police and courts and uses a range of methods including intervention and support of youth in our community. Examples include court support, diversionary practices and restorative justice conferencing, all of which are practiced and informed by the Youth Justice Act (1992).

Shay-Lee Shay-Lee outside the Rockhampton Youth Justice Centre.

At the time of my arrival, the court officers were already present at court. Amber offered me the opportunity to seek access to the Children’s Court, which is a closed court. I was then guided by Bronwyn, a court support officer, who allowed me to partake in initial interview processes with the clients and their guardians/parents upon their approval. This experience was eye opening in the sense that real emotions were displayed and the background to a client’s story was generally highlighted. Following initial interviews, the court proceedings kept flowing. It was a very fast paced environment which was a surprise to me. When seated in court, I admired the work of Dave, a court officer for the Youth Justice Service Centre. Dave demonstrated great objective knowledge of the Youth Justice Act (1992) and how it applied in the judiciary system. He also confidently liaised with confidence with the Magistrate.

Following Children’s Court, I was invited to a meeting at the Department of Housing. The objective of the meeting was to discuss options for youth experiencing a housing crisis. Sometimes when a youth offender is released, accommodation may not be readily available. It was highlighted that local organisations and departments must work together to establish a suitable and stable method of accommodation for those in crisis. It was a great insight to the function of the Department of Housing in collaboration with other organisations and departments.

At the end of my Justice Journey, I supported Bronwyn in uploading the clients’ court information into the relevant systems. Overall, I saw nearly every function of a day in the life of a Youth Justice Service Centre worker.

I was very pleased to be granted the opportunity to shadow Amber at the Rockhampton Youth Justice Service Centre. I believe this opportunity has provided not only greater insight to my community, but also insight to a potential career in Youth Justice, which is something I had not considered before.