African Australian Multicultural Employment & Youth Services (AAMEYS) held a workshop in Footscray during August connecting magistrates and lawyers with members of the African community to address their concerns about the high incarceration rates of African young people in our legal system.

Project coordinator, CEO of AAMEYS Dr Berhan Ahmed emphasises the importance of running such events to break down barriers for the African community. ‘An alarmingly high percentage of African youth are being arrested and held in custody. The difficulties people have in understanding the legal system impacts families and communities as a whole.’

Funded by a Victoria Law Foundation Small Grant, this sold-out event allowed members of the community to tell their stories, difficulties and challenges in the Magistrates Court, and learn more about our legal system.

Dr Ahmed was pleased with the great turn-out and feedback received after the event. ‘Community members, leaders, mothers and fathers attended. Most participants were very positive after the workshop finished. A mother said, ”I wish I would have known this earlier to save my child from going to prison.”

47 people from the new and emerging communities attended, with others sharing the presentation on social media. Through networking and social media, information from the workshop reached over 1000 people.

AAMEYS continues to minimise barriers and improve access for African Australian young people and their families through employment, education, mentoring and professional services. Find out more about AAMEYS on their website, or learn about our grants program.

You can learn more about how Victorian legal system works in our free publication.

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