Victoria Legal Aid

Other support for young people and the law

Learn where to get legal help and other support for young people and the law.

Bullying online or at school

Our lawyers may be able to help you if you have experienced discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation, or racial or religious vilification in areas such as:

  • education
  • employment (including partnerships and contractors)
  • buying or selling goods or services
  • accommodation
  • clubs and sporting activities
  • working as a volunteer
  • treatment by local councils, governments and organisations providing public services
  • entry to shops, restaurants and nightclubs.

In some cases, we may be able to negotiate, make a complaint, or take legal action in a court or tribunal.

We do not provide general employment advice and we do not help people to defend complaints of discrimination that have been made against them.

We also do not help people with complaints about bullying, unless it is linked to discrimination.

Who else can help

Legal services

The Disability Discrimination Legal ServiceExternal Link gives free legal advice and assistance to anyone who wants to make a complaint about being discriminated against on the grounds of their disability.

The AED Legal CentreExternal Link gives free legal advice and assistance to people with a disability in the areas of employment, education and training.

Villamanta Disability Rights Legal ServiceExternal Link is a Victorian community legal centre located in Geelong that helps with disability related legal issues. They mostly help people who have an intellectual disability.

JobWatchExternal Link is an employment rights legal centre which provides legal assistance to Victorian workers. They can give you free, confidential telephone information and referrals about work rights.

Fair Work Commission

If you reasonably believe that you have been bullied at work and the bullying is continuing you may apply to the Fair Work CommissionExternal Link for an order to stop the bullying. The commission must start dealing with your application within 14 days. They will investigate the complaint and may make orders they think are necessary to prevent the bullying from happening again.

Find out more about what you can do about bullying and discrimination at work.

Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner

If you are under 18 and have experienced cyberbullying, you can make a complaint to the Office of the Children’s eSafety CommissionerExternal Link . They will assess your complaint and decide whether to investigate or take some other action.

They also have a list of social media services' safety centresExternal Link where you can report abuse or content that you find offensive.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission enquiry line can provide information to people about discrimination before they choose to make a complaint.

Call the enquiry line on 1300 292 153 or visit the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission's websiteExternal Link .

Making a complaint about discrimination

Discrimination law is complex. It can be confusing knowing where to go to make a complaint. There are often several options available, such as complaining to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission or the Australian Human Rights Commission or the Fair Work Commission (the workplace relations tribunal).

If you complain to one place, sometimes you cannot later change your mind and complain elsewhere. It is best to call us or speak to one of the services listed on this page to get legal advice before lodging a complaint.

However, if you want to speak directly to a human rights commission or industrial tribunal about making a complaint you can contact:

Resources about bullying

These resources will help you understand more about:

  • discrimination and victimisation
  • sexual harassment
  • bullying.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission website has information about:

Fair Work Ombudsman

The Fair Work Ombudsman website has information about:

Fair Work Commission

The Fair Work Commission websiteExternal Link has information about:

Young people and the police

If you are going to court for a criminal offence, and your court date is more than six days away, you can request help before court.

Our other free legal services include help at court. For some matters, we can also provide you with a lawyer to help you run your case.

You can also contact us for free information about criminal offences and how we can help you.

Other organisations that can help

Legal services

Your local community legal centreExternal Link can give you legal information and advice. Most services are free.

The Victorian Aboriginal Legal ServiceExternal Link (VALS) provides legal advice and assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. If you are Koori and taken into custody, the police must tell VALS within one hour. You will get support and advice from one of their client services officers. They also have a 24-hour serviceExternal Link .

You can also find a private lawyer near you through the Law Institute of Victoria’s Legal Referral ServiceExternal Link . All law firms included in the Legal Referral Service provide a free 30-minute interview. You can use this interview to understand more about the legal issue and how much it will cost. Note that the free interview is not 30 minutes of free legal advice.

Other services

If you have a cognitive disability, the Office of the Public AdvocateExternal Link can provide an independent third person to be with you at the police station while you are interviewed or during procedures such as the police taking body samples.

Complaints

See Complaints about police for organisations that can help you make a complaint if you feel you have not been treated fairly by the police.

Resources about young people and the police

These resources will help you understand:

  • police powers in Victoria
  • your rights
  • what to do if you go to court.

Our free resources include:

See a list of all our free publications and resourcesExternal Link .

We also have a video about police.

Resources from other organisations

Youthlaw

Youthlaw's website contains information about:

Youthlaw's Street Smart VictoriaExternal Link is a practical guide to knowing your rights on the streets and has information about police powers.

The Law Handbook

The Law Handbook from Fitzroy Legal Service contains information about:

Work if you're under 15

Other organisations that can help

Legal services

Job WatchExternal Link provides legal assistance to Victorian workers. Job Watch can give you free, confidential telephone information and referrals about work rights.

Your local community legal centreExternal Link can give you legal information and advice. Most services are free.

Complaints

The Fair Work OmbudsmanExternal Link investigates complaints or suspected breaches of workplace laws, awards and registered agreements and some Fair Work Commission orders. Sometimes, the Fair Work Ombudsman may take legal action to enforce workplace laws.

To make a complaint call the Fair Work Ombudsman HelplineExternal Link .

Workplace rights

Trade unions can help their members with many employment issues, including questions about pay, unfair dismissals and workers’ compensation disputes.

See the Australian Council of Trade Unions websiteExternal Link .

WorkSafe Victoria

WorkSafe VictoriaExternal Link manages the workers compensation scheme and investigates breaches of occupational health and safety laws. There is information on their website about making a claim and returning to work after you are injured at work.

WorkCover AssistExternal Link is a free service provided by WorkSafe Victoria to help injured workers who have a WorkCover dispute with their employer. The staff will explain the conciliation process and will attend a conciliation conference to assist the employee.

Superannuation

Contact the Australian Tax Office's Superannuation Hotline on 131 020 for enquiries and services on superannuation.

Support for independent contractors

The Australian Government’s Business websiteExternal Link has information and resources about contractor rights and protections.

Our business and commercial issues topic also has useful information for independent contractors.

Resources about young people and work

These resources and publications have information to help you understand your employment rights as an employee or contractor in Victoria.

See a list of all our free publications and resourcesExternal Link , including:

Resources from other organisations

Fair Work Ombudsman

The Fair Work Ombudsman can help with information about pay, employee entitlements, leave, ending employment and awards and agreements.

The Fair Work Ombudsman website has a range of resourcesExternal Link to help employees and contractors. It also has fact sheets about minimum workplace entitlements in AustraliaExternal Link .

JobWatch

JobWatch can give you free and confidential phone information and referrals about your rights at work. You can contact them on (03) 9662 1933 if you are calling from a metropolitan area, or 1800 331 617 if you are calling from a regional area.

JobWatch has a range of information sheetsExternal Link about employment rights.

The Law Handbook

Fitzroy Legal Service’s Law Handbook has information about:

WorkSafe

WorkSafe has publications and forms to help injured workersExternal Link and to avoid workplace injuryExternal Link .

The WorkSafe website has information about:

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

Employee rightsExternal Link in the workplace and what to do if you think that you have been treated unfairly.

Australian Financial Complaints Authority

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority website has information about superannuation complaintsExternal Link .

Underage drinking

Other organisations that can help

Legal services

Your local community legal centreExternal Link can give you legal information and advice. Most services are free.

You can also find a private lawyer near you through the Law Institute of Victoria’s Legal Referral ServiceExternal Link . All law firms included in the Legal Referral Service provide a free 30-minute interview. You can use this interview to understand more about the legal issue and discuss the available options and how much they will cost. Note that the free interview is not 30 minutes of free legal advice.

Help at court

Court Network volunteersExternal Link support people at court. They are not lawyers and cannot give legal advice, but they can tell you about how court works. You can ring them before you go to court.

Resources about underage drinking

These resources will help you understand:

  • criminal offences
  • police powers in Victoria
  • what to do if you go to court for criminal charges.

Our free publications:

See a list of all our free publications and resourcesExternal Link .

We also have a video about police.

Resources from other organisations

The Youthlaw website containsinformation about young people, alcohol and the lawExternal Link .

Youth allowance and payments for young people

You can call us or chat to us for free information about the law and how we can help you with your Centrelink problem.

Our lawyers may be able to help if you:

  • are unsure about your rights or entitlements
  • disagree with a Centrelink decision
  • are being investigated for fraud or charged with a criminal offence.

For some matters, we can provide you with a lawyer to help you run your case.

Other organisations that can help

Social Security Rights Victoria

Social Security Rights VictoriaExternal Link is a community legal centre that provides assistance, including legal help, to people with social security problems.

Community legal centres

Your local community legal centreExternal Link can give you legal information and advice. Most services are free.

Legal Aid Commissions (outside Victoria)

Your local legal aid commissionExternal Link can give you information and advice.

Economic Justice Australia

Economic Justice AustraliaExternal Link is a network of community legal centres throughout Australia that specialise in social security law.

See a list of all our free publications and resourcesExternal Link .

We also have a video on Centrelink debts.

Resources from other organisations

Economic Justice Australia

A range of fact sheets about Centrelink and social security matters are on the Economic Justice Australia websiteExternal Link .

Centrelink

Centrelink has online estimatorsExternal Link to help you estimate or compare various payments that you might get based on your circumstances.

The Services Australia website has information about Centrelink, including:

The Guide to Australian Government paymentsExternal Link also has information about eligibility and payment rates for a wide range of Centrelink payments.

The Law Handbook

The Law Handbook from Fitzroy Legal Service has information about Centrelink payments and eligibility requirements:

Information for young people about child abuse and neglect

For some matters, we can provide you with a lawyer to help you run your case. You may be eligible if you are a:

  • child aged 10 or more
  • parent or other person trying to have a child in your care.

Other organisations that can help

Independent Family Advocacy and Support

Independent Family Advocacy and Support (IFAS) provides non-legal advocacy and support to parents and primary carers.

You can contact them for free in Victoria on 1800 849 200:

  • Monday 9 am to 12 pm
  • Wednesday 1 pm to 4 pm
  • Friday 9 am to 12 pm.

On the phone, they will tell you what services they can offer you.

Aboriginal legal services

If you or your child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, you can choose to access an Aboriginal legal service directly. Or, you can tell us that you want to be referred to one of the following services:

Help for young people

Kids Helpline is a free, confidential and anonymous counselling service for young people aged between 5 and 25. You can speak to a counsellor on the phone at any time of the day by calling 1800 551 800.

Visit the Kids Help Line websiteExternal Link if you don't feel comfortable talking to someone over the phone, or if you can't get to a phone. Counselling is also available at certain times of the day, and by email. If you need help urgently, the telephone is the fastest way of getting to a counsellor.

More information

How we can help

Contact us for free information about the law and how we can help you. If we can't help, we can refer you to other organisations that can.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

Reviewed 19 May 2022

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