This procedure relates to workplace safety when transporting young people involved with youth justice in government vehicles.

 

When to use this procedure

Before undertaking to transport a young person in a government vehicle, youth justice workers need to assess the safety risks for passengers, themselves and the public.

 

What else you need to know

 

Practice context and legislation

  • The role of a youth justice worker is multifaceted. Supervising a young person's court order entails many functions that are educative, supportive, part of case management and administrative. To fulfil these functions, workers frequently find accompany and transport young people to court, to various order commitments, activities and a range of appointments.
  • The nature of the work environment and the youth justice group predisposes workers to risks. It is therefore critical you are aware of associated risks and risk management as outlined in staff safety in the workplace.
  • In addition to departmental guidelines for transporting young people, areas/divisions may have their own transport policies. Consult with your team leader for policy information relating to transportation of young people.
  • The department recognises that employees are central to effective service delivery and implements measures that actively protect and promote the health, safety and wellbeing of all staff.
 

Roles and key tasks

Youth justice case manager

  • Provide case management and supervision.
  • Ensure a thorough assessment of risk of the young person is completed prior to transporting them in a government vehicle.

Team leader / team manager

  • Provide consultation and supervision to case manager.

Assistant Director / Manager Individual and Family Support

  • Provide oversight, direction and monitoring of the area youth justice program.
  • Provide case consultation regarding young people exhibiting high-risk behaviours.

Youth Justice Senior Practice Advisor

  • Provide case consultation regarding young people exhibiting high risk behaviours. This should occur subject to local area agreements between Assistant Director or Manager Individual Family Support and the Senior Practice Advisor.
 

The procedure in detail

Induction and orientation

Team leaders are responsible for ensuring that as part of induction and orientation all youth justice workers:

  • receive information that addresses driving risks specific to the youth justice role
  • receive information relating to general conditions regarding the use of government vehicles
  • hold a current drivers licence
  • are advised not to use their own cars to transport young people.

Regular review of practice safety

Team leaders and youth justice managers are required to regularly review practice and issues arising relating to transportation of young people during:

  • staff supervision sessions
  • staff meetings
  • management team meetings
  • team meetings.

Who can be transported

In some circumstances, a request may be made to youth justice workers to transport other people who are with a young person, and who are not involved with the department.

Obtain details of the request, for example the young person's children, partner or family member and consult with the team leader to determine if this is appropriate.

Assess hazards and possible risk before transporting anyone in the company of the young person. See below.

Youth justice workers are not to transport any unknown associates of youth justice young people.

Assess hazards and possible risk

Before transporting a young person, identify and assess potential risk.

The following hazards are associated with high risk:

  • indication of weapon presence
  • history if physical violence or serious verbal threats
  • history of serious sex offences
  • history of serious psychiatric conditions
  • history of substance misuse
  • staff safety alerts on the young person's file.

Behaviour by the young person

If you anticipate that the young person may exhibit dangerous behaviours, or could pose safety concerns, consult with your team leader and/or youth justice manager before undertaking the journey.

The team leader and/or youth justice manager will assess:

  • the safest strategies to manage the client's behaviours
  • development of a safety plan
  • whether alternative transport arrangements will need to be made.

If a young person's behaviour poses ongoing and unacceptable risk, a decision may be made for permanent alternative transport arrangements.

Assess the young person's state of mind

If you have any concerns about transporting a young person consult with the team leader.

Consult with your team leader if the young person is:

  • resistant to undertaking the journey
  • substance affected
  • distressed, agitated or aggressive
  • depressed, anxious or suicidal
  • accompanied by peers.

Driver responsibilities and precautions

When a young person is assessed as safe to transport, ensure that you:

  • are familiar with the working of the vehicle before embarking on a journey, especially if you have not driven it previously
  • have access to a street directory
  • ensure that there is enough petrol in the car to complete the journey
  • drive within your capabilities and with due consideration of prevailing conditions, for example, heavy traffic, bad weather, unfamiliar surroundings
  • have a good knowledge of the road traffic laws and abide by them at all times
  • respect the rights of other road users and drive with courtesy at all times
  • do not drive with unsecured items in the interior of the car as these items can become projectiles if the vehicle is involved in an accident.

On arrival at the destination take note of parking and exit points from street.

Legal requirements

You are legally required:

  • to have a current Victorian drivers licence
  • not to drive while affected by alcohol or drugs, including medication that has a sedative effect
  • to ensure that all passengers are wearing a correctly fitted restraint or seatbelt
  • not to use handheld mobile phones while driving unless safely parked.

Routine precautions

Before embarking on each journey:

  • ensure your team leader knows what time you intend to return
  • ensure you have a mobile phone and are contactable
  • have a planned route before starting the journey
  • check the vehicle's petrol, tyre pressure and windscreen washer supply
  • ensure you have a road directory
  • store all personal belongings or objects in the boot.

When unattended, leave the vehicle securely locked.

Minimise risks

When transporting a young person, discuss expectations about the journey (for example the destination, needing to wear a seat belt, the requirement for the young person not to smoke, and whether the child lock will be in use).

During transit consider:

  • the most suitable place to seat the young person
  • avoid discussing topics that are known to distress or anger the young person
  • adopt a policy of stopping the vehicle unless passengers and the driver are safe to continue.

If appropriate, consider whether a colleague should also accompany you when transporting the young person.

Before starting the journey, tell the young person that if they are going to leave the car they must tell you and allow time to pull over, stop the car and let them leave the car safely.

Inform the young person that child locks are not in use.

If the young person becomes agitated during the journey and does not wish to continue transport, be clear that you will pull over safely to the side of the road to enable them to leave the vehicle.

Vehicle accident or incident

In the event of a vehicle accident:

  • arrange for appropriate assistance for injured parties
  • notify the police if any party is injured or property damaged
  • follow the instructions in traffic policy for motor vehicle accident
  • notify the team leader.

After an accident or incident

After an accident or incident involving staff and/or a young person:

  • inform the team leader and/or youth justice manager
  • complete a DINMA report
  • complete an incident report
  • consider police involvement
  • record staff safety alert on the Client Relationship Information System (CRIS).

Discuss the need for post-incident support with the team leader.

Road safety

All passengers must wear a seat belt, but the driver is responsible for ensuring that anyone under 16 years of age is wearing their seatbelt.

If the child of a young person is transported with the young person, the child must be fitted in a child restraint that is suitable for the child's weight and height.

Age is to be used as a guide only and the child restraint must be correctly fitted and adjusted.

 

Additional information