Legal Aid NSW has been running a major crime prevention program on young people and group offending.

The aim of that program has been to prevent young people from getting caught up in serious group assaults and robberies.

We have run workshops for thousands of young people in NSW schools, youth centres and refuges, using role-plays and case studies to illustrate how the criminal law works in a situation where a group is involved in a crime.

Due to the success of that program, Legal Aid decided to take it a step further and commissioned internationally acclaimed filmmaker David Vadiveloo and Community Prophets to create the short film 'Burn'.

A Collaborative Process

Community Prophets were commissioned for their expertise in working collaboratively with young people to create high-end media content that engages and resonates with youth audiences.

There was no script for this film - the dialogue, the storyline and the characters were all developed working with a diverse group of young people from Sydney, including the 11 cast members who appear in the film.

'Burn' tells the story of a typical juvenile robbery offence that escalates into a more serious act of violence. Using characters and storyline that young people will relate to, it shows how easily you can get caught up in serious crime situations, just by being present.

Underlying Issues

Legal Aid NSW represents tens of thousands of young people a year facing charges in the Children's Court. All too often, we deal with young people facing charges for very serious crimes that were instigated by someone else, that they never set out to commit or that they just went along with.

They may not have played an active role in the commission of the crime, but assisted the offenders or remained present to back them up.

This may involve jumping in to assist their mates during a fight, standing over victims during a robbery or "rolling" offence or acting as a lookout. It may also include driving offenders from the scene, swapping clothes to help them get away with the crime, passing on or hiding stolen goods.

In any of these situations, if you are present at the scene and assisting you can be charged as a principal offender under the laws of joint criminal enterprise, and held legally responsible for the actions of your co-accused, or the other people you were with.

Purpose of the Film

The film is purpose built to illustrate how the law works in these complex group situations

It sends a clear and very powerful message about the very serious legal consequences, for everyone involved in offences of violence.


BURN Project Manager
Children’s Legal Service, Legal Aid NSW
(02) 8688 3815

Request a workshop & screening of the film at your school or youth centre:

Legal Aid NSW is screening the film 'Burn' in facilitated crime prevention workshops in schools and youth services all over NSW.

These workshops will be presented and facilitated by Legal Aid lawyers.

We also have representatives from a wide range of agencies who will be attending as guest speakers - including NSW Police and organisations that work with victims of crime.

Call the BURN Project Manager at Legal Aid (contact details above) to request a workshop.