Engagement support for young people in the criminal justice system

Young people who are involved in the criminal justice system can receive support from the Education Justice Initiative.

The initiative helps young people aged 10 to 17 reconnect and remain engaged with education and training in a way that suits their needs and interests. It runs at high volume children's courts and all Koorie Children's Courts in Victoria.

Education Justice Initiative services

Our team members are available to:

  • talk to young people about their educational needs and interests
  • liaise with schools and training providers on behalf of young people, to help them get back into education.

So whether a young person wants to return to school, enrol in TAFE, apply for an apprenticeship or doesn't know what they want to do, help and advice is available.

Other services include:

  • advocating on behalf of the young person to resolve education issues and connect young people to necessary support or programs
  • facilitating enrolment in schools, alternative education settings and vocational courses
  • giving information to the court about the young person's education to assist the court in decision making.

For more information on the initiative's operating model, policy context and service delivery, see:


Young people aged 10 to 17 years old who have a matter with the criminal division of the Children's Court or the Koori Children's Court are eligible to receive support and advice from one of our team members.

If a young person already has a worker from a government agency, our team members can work with them to ensure a coordinated, multi-disciplinary approach. This includes youth justice worker, Children's Court Diversion Service workers or Child Protection case managers.

Young people who are not connected to government agency support services can be referred directly to the program.


Use a referral form and email it to your local Education Justice Initiative team member.

Referral forms can also be completed at court and handed directly to our team members on scheduled Children's Court sitting days.

Referrals can be made by:

  • young people and their families
  • magistrates
  • police
  • Youth Justice and the Children's Court Youth Diversion Service
  • Victoria Legal Aid / legal representatives
  • community organisations
  • schools .

Staff and court locations

Our team members attend:

  • Children's Court sitting days in all headquarter courts
  • Koori Children's Court
  • higher volume children's courts across Victoria.

Koorie education liaison officers provide services to young Koorie people with matters in Koori Children's Courts or mainstream Children's Courts.

Regional education liaison officers provide services to all young people in mainstream Children's Courts and Koori Children's Courts.

Key EJI contacts at Children's Court

Melbourne and Ballarat

Email: bridget.smith@education.vic.gov.au
Phone: 8638 3344
Mobile: 0439 415 884

Email: chloe.crooks@education.vic.gov.au
Mobile: 0428 402 284

Warrnambool, Portland & Hamilton

Email: gary.hamence@education.vic.gov.au
Phone: 5215 1585
Mobile: 0419 364 033

LaTrobe Valley, Bairnsdale, Sale

Email: stephen.walsh@education.vic.gov.au
Phone: 5127 0464
Mobile: 0438 045 477

Frankston and Moorabbin

Email: victoria.bramall-white@education.vic.gov.au
Phone: 8766 5717
Mobile: 0436 615 188

Mildura, Swan Hill and Robinvale

Email: marty.peterson@education.vic.gov.au
Phone: 03 5077 3178
Mobile: 0436 683 660

Shepparton, Wodonga and Benalla

Email: natalie.anderson2@education.vic.gov.au
Mobile: 0436 862 360

Geelong (non-Koorie young people)

Phone: 9194 6340
Mobile: 0447 298 251

Geelong (Koorie young people only)

Email: gary.hamence@education.vic.gov.au
Phone: 5215 1585
Mobile: 0419 364 033

Sunshine, Werribee

Email: nathanael.poljak@education.vic.gov.au
Phone: 9194 6340
Mobile: 0447 298 251


Email: lisa.edwards@education.vic.gov.au
Phone: 5194 4207
Mobile: 0477 375 650


Email: mark.jessup@education.vic.gov.au 
Mobile: 0436 692 784

Bendigo and Heidelberg

Email: shona.douglas@education.vic.gov.au
Phone: 03 4433 7509
Mobile: 0429 210 693


Email: lisa.edwards@education.vic.gov.au
Phone: 5194 4207
Mobile: 0477 375 650

The Melbourne, Geelong, Warrnambool, Shepparton, Mildura, LaTrobe Valley and Bairnsdale locations contain a Mainstream Children's Court and a Koori Children's Court in the area.

The Portland and Hamilton locations contain only a Koori Children's Court.

If you are unable to contact your local representative, please email your referral to the central team on eji.referrals@edumail.vic.gov.au


Young people involved in the criminal justice system have typically experienced significant disadvantage, and are often disengaged from education. There is strong evidence that education is key to reducing young people's risk of reoffending, and building positive life skills and improving long term outcomes.

The Education Justice Initiative assists young people to re-engage with education in a way that suits their needs and interests. The initiative is run by the Department and is supported by the Children's Court of Victoria. ​​