Victoria’s youth justice staff were recognised for their commitment to young people at the inaugural Youth Justice Awards on 4 April.

The awards honour the hard work of Youth Justice staff across Victoria’s custodial, community and central office settings who support and engage vulnerable young people to divert them from the youth justice system.

Youth Justice Commissioner, Andrea Davidson, DJCS Secretary, Kate Houghton, Deputy Secretary of Youth Justice, Jodi Henderson, Minister for Youth Justice, Enver Erdogan, and other invited guests from the youth justice sector joined nominees and winners at the event.

The awards ceremony took place at the State Library of Victoria where five inaugural award winners were announced.

About the Award Winners

Please note: Belinda Hayden and Matthew Minchew were unable to attend and so the photos are of their representatives.


Youth Justice Medal – Kathy Taylor, Regional General Manager Youth Justice North Metro

Kathy Taylor

For outstanding commitment to delivering positive outcomes for young people and their families including through diversion initiatives.

Kathy Taylor won the Youth Justice Medal for her focus on diversion and commitment to excellence in working with young people, while supporting her staff. As one of Victoria’s founding youth justice General Managers, Kathy is known for her vision and leadership.

Kathy played a pivotal role establishing the Weekend Online Remand Court and Youth Justice Bail After Hours Service, a vital initiative that works to divert young people away from the youth justice system and into better support and rehabilitation focused programs.


Aboriginal Justice Award – Belinda Hayden, Aboriginal Family Led Community Convenor

Belinda Hayden

For outstanding commitment to improving outcomes for Aboriginal young people.

Aunty Belinda Hayden won the Aboriginal Youth Justice Award for her great work in the Grampians Region working with Aboriginal young people.

Aunty Belinda works with young people on sporting, cultural and wellbeing initiatives as part of her role on the Aboriginal Youth Caution Panel and within the justice system and community.

Please note: Belinda Hayden was unable to attend and so the photo is of her representative.


Collaboration and Innovation Award – Parkville Safety Emergency Response Team

Parkville SERT

For creative thinking and successfully working together to improve engagement and outcomes for young people and create safer environments for young people and staff.

The Parkville SERT was recognised with the Collaboration and Innovation Award for their innovation, creative thinking and for implementing programs to improve engagement with young people.

Going beyond their role of maintaining security and safety in emergency situations, they designed youth engagement programs including early morning physical training to promote discipline and good behaviour, sporting competitions, a book club to encourage learning and gym refurbishment projects.

Aiming to build positive connections with the young people in their care, the SERT team believe the programs have a positive flow on effect, reporting more efficient and safer conflict resolution within the precinct.


Diversity and Inclusion Award – Julie Youssef, Senior Policy Officer Inclusion and Intersectionality

Julie Youssef

For actively advocating and strengthening diversity and inclusion in their work.

Julie Youssef won the Diversity and Inclusion Award for her commitment to creating an inclusive environment that caters to the needs of both LGBTIQA+ youth and staff within the Youth Justice system.

Julie has spearheaded several critical initiatives to uplift diversity and inclusion across Youth Justice, showcasing a profound understanding of intersectionality and a drive for positive change.


Health Safety and Wellbeing Award – Matthew Minchew, Manager Infrastructure Projects and Security

Matthew Minchew

For outstanding contributions to workplace health, safety and wellbeing including redesign of critical safety systems.

Matthew Minchew was recognised with the Health Safety and Wellbeing Award for his outstanding contributions to workplace health, safety and wellbeing including redesign of critical safety systems.

Matthew has been instrumental in strengthening safety and security in workplace infrastructure and embedding safe systems of work. Matthew actively removes barriers to ensure safe environments for staff and young people. His commitment to health, safety and wellbeing leadership by embedding safe systems of work is exemplary.

Please note: Matthew Minchew was unable to attend and so the photo is of his representative.