Australian Story: June 19

Monday’s Australian Story profiles Vincent Shin, Australia’s first dedicated in-school lawyer, advising students on fare evasion, sexting and domestic violence.

“I have never seen Vinnie anything other than nauseatingly positive. Knowing now what I know of his past, he could have gone a very different way.” – Renee Dowling, former Wellbeing Co-ordinator at The Grange P-12 College

“We didn’t want a traditional lawyer – that would have been a disaster.” – Denis Nelthorpe, community lawyer

“People shouldn’t be scared or ashamed to talk about family violence. It should no longer be this taboo topic that you don’t talk about.” – Vincent Shin

At 31, Vincent Shin is Australia’s first dedicated in-school lawyer, providing students at The Grange P-12 College with advice on everything from fines for fare evasion to the legalities of sexting and how to deal with domestic violence.

Those behind the pioneering scheme were looking for someone who could relate to some of the challenges faced by the school’s 1700 students, who come mainly from low socio-economic backgrounds.

In Vincent they found what they were looking for. An amateur boxer and motorcycle enthusiast, his childhood and adolescence were blighted by family violence. He mixed with the wrong crowd and failed year 12. He has not travelled an easy path to get to where he is today.

Two years after leaving high school he decided to turn his life around. He enrolled in TAFE and studied legal practice as part of a business diploma. He was rejected by multiple law schools before finally being accepted into Victoria University.

On graduating he worked in family law and his new role as in-school lawyer also provides an opportunity to help children deal with the sorts of experiences he and his family went through at the hands of his father.

For the first time Vincent Shin reveals a recently discovered family secret that shook him to the core.

Two years ago he received a letter from his father, who had not seen since he walked out of the family’s life when Vincent was in year 12. His father said he was in prison. When Vincent investigated, he discovered his father had stabbed a man in front of the man’s children. Vincent couldn’t help but think how easily he and his sister could have been those children.

For Vincent Shin, speaking openly about his past is a way to heal.

Monday June 19 at 8pm on ABC.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.