The Central After Hours and Bail Placement Service is a state-wide after hours service available to young people who commit an offence when aged from 10 to 18 years. The service may be utilised voluntarily by an young person being considered for remand by police or where bail accommodation may be required.
The service provides a single point of contact for police in matters where police and/or a bail justice is considering remand of a young person outside business hours. During business hours, police contact the area youth justice unit.
Remand of young people should be considered as a last resort on the basis that:
- it has a stigmatising effect on young people
- contact with other offenders allows the formation of criminal associations and networks
- it places vulnerable young people at risk
- it reduces the opportunity for positive rehabilitation
Court and bail advice is provided to enhance the capacity of children's courts and bail justices to undertake informed decision-making, and to ensure that young people are dealt with in a manner that is consistent with the key principles of diversion and minimum intervention that underpin the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 .
What does a CAHABPS worker do?
The worker assesses the suitability of the young person for bail placement, provides bail facilitation and advice. This includes ensuring the young person is aware of the service, the nature of the proceedings, their rights and responsibilities and expectations involved should placement in the community be assessed as suitable.
The service provides:
- support and information about the remand process and court proceedings
- assistance with bail accommodation
- referral to additional youth and family support service
Within the metropolitan area, the CAHABPS worker will attend the police station and conduct an assessment of the young person's suitability for bail placement and, if appropriate, place the young person in suitable accommodation. For those apprehended in rural areas, the coordinator will act as a central point of contact for police when they are considering remand outside business hours and, if agreed to by the young person, conduct a phone assessment.
Occasionally, the service is contacted in situations where police are prepared to bail a young person, however the young person does not have access to appropriate accommodation. In such cases, it is the role of the worker to facilitate bail through assisting police in accessing appropriate accommodation for the young person.
Who contacts the service?
Whenever police are considering remand of a young person in police custody after hours they must notify the service and allow the young person to be in contact with a worker prior to a remand hearing. Young people, parents, guardians, carers or community sector staff can contact the service directly for support and advice regarding the police remand process.
The Victorian Police Manual (sections 113-6,1 and 4.45) instructs all police members on the issue of remand of child on:
When a young person in police custody is to be processed for a criminal offence the interviewing member, in consultation with their seargeant, will consider action in accordance with the following options:
- no further mention
- a caution under the police-cautioning program
- the issue of an immediate summons
- charge and instant bail (with or without conditions)
- submission of a brief of evidence for approval
- charge and remand in custody by court or bail justice.
Remand of children in custody should only be considered as a last alternative. The use of bail with the imposition of conditions is preferable to remand.
Where remand is recommended to a bail justice and the young person is not legally represented, the informant may contact the department (during business hours) or the CAHABPS service (after hours), who may make arrangements for a representative to be present at the remand hearing to put alternative options for the bail justice's consideration.
The CAHABPS representative should be allowed access to the young person prior to the remand hearing.
When can the service be contacted?
The service is available:
- Monday to Friday 5.00pm - 3.00am
- Saturday and Sunday 9.30am - 3.00am
- public holidays: 9.30am - 3.00am
During normal business, please contact your local youth justice unit.