A 19-year-old woman with a learning disability has been given a second chance, after a brush with the law.

The woman, who also has a number of diagnosed mental health problems and lives with her mother in Sydney’s south-west, recently faced court on a number of minor charges.

Marrickville Legal Centre’s youth solicitor, Katie Green, successfully argued the young woman she represented should be diverted from the criminal justice system into a treatment program that would help her address underlying problems to prevent any further offending.

Instead of ordering a criminal conviction, the Magistrate made orders that the young woman be required to attend regular counselling and yoga at her local headspace program.

MLC lawyer Katie Green says it’s a good outcome: “I am pleased that this young woman has been given a second chance to engage with support services and continue with her TAFE course and apprenticeship.

“Unfortunately, a lot of young people with mental health problems or disabilities are criminalised for minor offences at a very early age. This sets them up to fail before they have had much of a chance,” she says.

Marrickville Legal Centre’s youth solicitors attend headspace in Bankstown and Liverpool to provide free legal advice for young people experiencing mental health problems.

Find out more about MLC’s state-wide Youth Legal Service here.