It took over 25 years to establish Youthlaw.
Youthlaw aimed to fill a significant gap in the delivery of legal services to young people in Victoria.
“It is absolutely essential that young people are given opportunities to address their own human rights, to obtain a practical understanding of how the law impacts upon their life and that opportunities are created for young people to take responsibility for the legal issues that impact upon their lives.
This was first acknowledged by government in 1995, when the Australian Law Reform Commission and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission began the Inquiry into Children and the Legal Process. This Inquiry, now endearingly known as Seen and Heard, recommended that a network of youth advocates be established across the country.
A unique partnership between the private and community legal sectors worked towards establishing Youthlaw, Victoria’s first community legal centre for young people.
Blake Dawson Waldron (Ashurst as it is now known), North Melbourne Legal Service and the Federation of Community Legal Centres entered into an arrangement to establish a Centre.
In 2001 the vision of North Melbourne Legal Service, Blake Dawson Waldron and the Federation of Community Legal Centres grew this funding into a stand alone centre, which started operations in October 2001.
From day one Youthlaw has been located at Frontyard Youth Service, a co-location of youth specific services that work together to address the physical, emotional, educational, vocational, financial and social needs of young people aged 12 to 25 years who spend time in the Melbourne CBD & who are homeless or marginalised. Youthlaw provide a drop in legal clinic week day afternoons from Frontyard.