Change the law?

Youthlaw advocates for change to laws, policies and practices that advance the human rights of young people.

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Policy platform

Youthlaw is a fearless advocate for young people. Not only do we provide legal advice to individuals but we also advocate for laws, practices and policies to be changed to benefit ALL young people. You can see the current issues we are working on in our Policy platform.

Smart Justice for Young People

We work with legal and non-legal organisations to bring about change. In 2011 we established Smart Justice for Young People (SJ4YP) – a coalition of over 40 social services, health, legal and youth advocacy organisations, calling for evidenced-based and effective responses to justice involved children and young people.

The coalition provides a coordinated and expert voice on youth justice initiatives and reforms.

The SJ4YP coalition is committed to initiatives, systems change and reform that help children and young people have the best chance to succeed in life, supported by their families and in their communities, in particular:

 Justice reinvestment: Commit to community-led, place based initiatives to tackle disadvantage and address other drivers of child and adolescent offending and to strengthen children and families

End to the overrepresentation in the criminal justice system of Aboriginal and Torres strait islander children and young people; children and youth from multicultural backgrounds; girls and young women with complex needs and children in residential care.

Raise the age of criminal responsibility to at least 14, and

Promote humane treatment of young people in youth detention, including:

  • Improving access to health services and the health outcomes for children in detention and when released from detention and transitioning in the community
  • End us of solitary confinement
  • Support of the full OPCAT implementation: for oversight of youth detention and treatment of children detained.

See  SJ4YP response to Inquiry into Victoria’s Criminal Justice system FINAL

And SJ4YP Key Priorities for the Victorian State Election 2022

See Letter to Attorney-General re Implementation of  OPCAT  2023

Convenor: Anoushka Jeronimus (WEstJustice)  or


Every year we review our key campaigns. Over the next few years, our key campaign will be Justice Reinvestment – persuading governments and decision-makers to put more funding into early intervention to prevent offending in the first place. Our other campaign areas are:

Our campaigns are run jointly with Smart Justice for Young People (SJ4YP).

Emerging and topical issues

See our blog for our commentary and responses to emerging and topical issues, including the release of crimes statistics and Federal and State elections.

Media enquiries

To speak to us about our advocacy priorities or in response to emerging issues around laws, policy and practice affecting young people in Victoria:

T: 03 9113 9500 and ask for