Consider becoming a Youth Justice WorkerOn October 8, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
Victoria currently has two youth justice precincts.
One in Parkville in Melbourne and one here at Malmsbury. A lot of young people in youth
justice custodial centres in Victoria come from very diverse backgrounds.
Most of the young people come here from disadvantaged families.
Most of them have suffered complex trauma for most of their life
Many of our young people haven’t grown up with positive influences, so it’s up to
us be their role models. So that’s where we step in to try and show
them the different side of things. A good YJ worker is someone that can develop
a rapport with the young people. And that’s especially important when you’re trying
to de-escalate a situation. We’ve got to set firm boundaries, because
a lot of these young people like structure. We teach the young people new things about
themselves and show them the right way, so that you can be able to achieve good outcomes
with them. A major part of our role is to challenge difficult
behaviours and to maintain a safe and secure precinct.
The big difference between a youth worker and a youth justice worker is young people
have been sent here for committing crime. It’s quite difficult dealing with young
people coming off of drugs. They seem to self-isolate, they just want to be left alone.
The role of a youth justice worker can be very unpredictable, knowing that the environment
is very dynamic Although it’s a custodial type of environment,
we try and keep it as normal as possible by the taking the young people to programs, school,
sporting events, mixed programs. There’s daily compliance that has to be
completed, there are room searches. There are case notes, reports that we need
to do. And this outlines everything that the young
person may have done during the day. On the case management side, we’re able
to engage with our young people a lot more. We’re able to attend their care meetings,
understand their backgrounds, their histories and help find how to support them better.
We also respond to codes that can be just normal codes from a verbal argument between
two young people to a physical altercation. We are the first to respond to serious incidents.
However, we do have an emergency response team.
You obviously have to feel comfortable in your surroundings and have faith in your team.
That’s the biggest thing. Teamwork’s massive in this job.
There are seven weeks of training where you learn tactical operations and also the safety
aspects to the job role. But there will be times where you will have to back yourself
and know that you can do the job. You need a certain level of maturity, that
doesn’t mean to say you have to be over 40. Life experience counts for a lot. And
just having patience, resilience. Some empathy towards the young people.
And also giving them respect. You’re not here to judge them, they’ve already been
judged before they come here. The greatest satisfaction I get out of working
here in youth justice is seeing boys develop and learning new skills.
Being able to watch them make positive choices and take responsibilities for their actions
and me being a part of that. I live just under 40 minutes from Malmsbury,
in between Malmsbury and Melbourne. Even though the distance is a little further for me than
from Parkville, I find that the cruisy freeway drive door-to-door and no traffic is an advantage
to working at Malmsbury. All around the local area it’s a really
laid back country environment, there’s a lot of community groups, there’s plenty
of activities you can do up here. We have a wonderful team of staff around us
and we look forward to more of you joining our team.
Although it’s not essential, it’s good to attend the information sessions where you
can learn more about the job role as a youth justice worker.
Whether you want to work in Melbourne or regional Victoria, Parkville and Malmsbury are great
places to work and I encourage you to apply.