There are specialist services available from various agencies to support children who have legal problems or who need to attend court.
In addition, help is offered for children whose parents are held in custody during a court case or jailed after sentencing.
The children's court deals with criminal cases where the person, who has been charged, was under the age of 18 years at the time the offence was committed.
However, in cases where a young person is charged with a traffic offence and is old enough to obtain a driver's licence, the offence is usually dealt with in the local court.
The general public is excluded from children's court hearings and the names of the children involved in the proceedings may not be published or broadcast.
These are some of the services available for children involved in court cases.
Children's Legal Services of Legal Aid NSW advises and represents children and young people involved in criminal cases in the Children's Court and Youth Drug and Alcohol Court.
They also represent young people who are defendants in Apprehended Domestic Violence proceedings. Duty lawyers from Children's Legal Services are available at various children's courts and local courts in the state.
There are more than 20
Aboriginal Legal Services across New South Wales. Police must notify the service whenever an Aboriginal person is taken into custody. The service can assist you to get a lawyer and legal advice.
Children's Court Assistance Program provides services to children in criminal matters only. It funds and monitors the performance of six Children's Court Assistance Schemes serving eight locations in New South Wales. Trained youth workers provide information about court processes and work with young people and their families before, during and after their court appearance.
At various local courts,
Aboriginal Client Service Specialist officers are available to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants, witnesses and victims of crime. They can also help with information on court services.
Shopfront Youth Legal Centre employs solicitors to provide legal representation for homeless and disadvantaged youth.
Other support agencies
Other agencies that offer support to children in court include:
Salvation Army chaplains visit children's courts to support young people in trouble with the law
Legal information or advice for children, youths and parents
Youth Hotline provides advice about your legal rights if you have a criminal law problem.
Juvenile Justice website provides answers to questions parents or families might have if their child is going to court.
Lawstuff website of the National Children's and Youth Law Centre has legal information for young people. To view an interactive who's who in a hearing involving a young person in a NSW criminal court, see
Cases concerning children in need of care and protection are handled by the children's court. There are 10 specially trained children's registrars who are available to hold dispute resolution conferences.
Children's registrars provide parties with an opportunity to agree on the action that should be taken in the best interests of the child and allow for the direct participation of the child's family and others concerned for the safety, welfare and wellbeing of the child in the decision-making process.
If you think a child or young person is at risk of harm, abuse or neglect, contact the 24-hour
Child Protection Helpline run by Family and Community Services.
Remote witness facilities allow vulnerable witnesses, including children, to give evidence from safe locations outside of the courtroom. It you have concerns about a child giving evidence in a courtroom, speak to your lawyer about making a request to use remote witness facilities.
Victims of crime can call the
Victims Access Line to get information about support services available. It is run by Victims Services of the department. The
Victims Services website has information on the journey to justice, including court information, for victims of crime and witnesses.
Kids Helpline is a free 24-hour counselling service for Australian children and young people aged 5-25 years.
The independent organisation,
Victims and Witnesses of Crime Court Support offers free court assistance and support.
Support for children with a parent in custody
Shine for Kids is an organisation that provides support for children with a parent in custody.