A campaign is underway to recruit more Justices of the Peace in Ballarat, with a shortage of volunteers creating problems filling the roster at Ballarat Police Station.
The Ballarat branch of Royal Victorian Association of Honorary Justices has been lobbying for years for the Department of Justice and Community Safety to open up recruitment for JPs in Ballarat.
Victorian training coordinator and Ballarat branch association secretary Jackie Warner JP said she was excited recruitment had finally opened up, with a hope to see more young and diverse people become JPs.
"For about three or four years the Ballarat branch has noticed people getting older and some JPs are passing away," she said.
"We don't have a lot of younger JPs and we are starting to have a bit of a problem manning the police station roster, which wasn't previously a problem."
The Department of Justice and Community Safety opens up particular areas for recruitment and training based on need.
We don't have a lot of younger JPs and we are starting to have a bit of a problem manning the police station roster, which wasn't previously a problem.Jackie Warner, JP
"We are hoping to get people from all walks of life and a lot more diversity than we have, but people do need to be prepared to do voluntary work and undergo training," Ms Warner said.
JP volunteers have the power to witness a range of legal documents, including statutory declarations and affidavits, and to certify true copies of documents.
People must be over 18, an Australian citizen, have a good grasp of English language, be able to complete training including understanding legislation and undergo background checks to become a JP.
"As a JP you are a respected and valued member of the community," Ms Warner said.
Ms Warner has been a JP for almost 18 years. She originally underwent training after a friend recommended her for the role, with a need for more female JPs at the time.
The Ballan resident has always believed in contributing to community and being a JP was her way to give back while using her skills and training.
Ms Warner said there was a great need for JPs in Ballarat, with more than half a million documents signed at the Ballarat Police Station by JPs since 2007.
She has also been part of a new online witnessing program that began at the start of the pandemic.
The JP roster covers five days a week at the Ballarat Police Station , which also plays a role in freeing up valuable police time.
Ms Warner said there were documents like affidavits, which only a JP or a lawyer could sign, and having JPs on offer meant people could avoid paying the cost of a lawyer.
"If someone feels like they are good character and would like to contribute, have a think if it is something you would like to do," she said.
It is mandatory to attend a JP information session before making an application. Virtual sessions will be held on October 7, 12, 14 and 19 from 6pm to 7pm.
Visit eventbrite.com.au/e/justice-of-the-peace-recruitment-information-session-tickets-172433231437 to register. Email Ms Warner at email@example.com for more information.
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