Our justice system is having damaging long term impacts on those involved, their families and the broader community. Young people in the justice system are among the most vulnerable and we are committed to supporting them.
Red Cross has developed WorkREDi, a program providing employment support to young people involved with the justice system. WorkREDi provides case management, mentoring, work experience and skill development to build the capacity and confidence of young people to positively participate in their community through employment or education. Both of these are considered key protective factors that impact the likelihood a young person will enter the justice system. They have a positive impact on mental wellbeing, break cycles of disadvantage and disengagement, alleviate social isolation, stigma and promote inclusion in mainstream opportunities.
Red Cross places significant importance on the voice of lived experience to inform our justice work. We have established a Youth Justice Advisory Group (YJAG) for young people with lived experience to create positive change in the system. YJAG will provide a platform to amplify the voice of young people through sharing stories, experiences and insights to our work and the key challenges in the current system.
We aim to empower young people to make positive long term changes in the youth justice system and improve their individual outcomes. The insights and learnings of the interlink between these programs and the impact these have on the disadvantage caused by the justice system is a vital area to discuss.
Jess Vesely commenced with Australian Red Cross in 2016 and is currently the Team Leader of Community Wellbeing and Justice. Through this role Jess oversees and provides strategic direction for all Victorian justice programs which include early intervention and prevention, in prison programs and advocacy projects. Throughout her career, Jess has worked across justice, place based, international development and youth wellbeing in both the Government and Not-for-Profit sectors. Jess holds a Master of International Relations, focused on criminal law and human rights, and a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Criminology and Psychology from the University of Melbourne.
Chloe McBain is the Youth Health and Wellbeing Officer within the Victorian State Team at Australian Red Cross. As part of her role, Chloe leads the WorkREDi and Youth Justice Advisory Group programs supporting young people who are at risk of, or had contact with, the youth justice system. Chloe has over 10 years experience working with young people involved with or at risk of contact with the youth justice system. She has worked across early intervention and prevention, including supporting young people in government housing who are at risk of entering the youth justice system. Chloe has also held youth work roles at Malmsbury Youth Justice Precinct and worked with young perpetrators and victims of family and domestic violence in the Northern Territory. Chloe holds a Master of Social Work degree and a Bachelor of International Relations focused on disadvantaged young people.