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Sentencing

In sentencing adults, Victorian courts are required to focus on the objectives of punishment and deterrence as well as rehabilitation. However, in sentencing juveniles the primary goal of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 is the rehabilitation of young offenders.

If the court finds a young person guilty of an offence, the court may:

  • without conviction, dismiss the charge
  • without conviction, dismiss the charge and order the young person to give an undertaking
  • without conviction, order the young person to give an accountable undertaking
  • without conviction, place the child on a good behaviour bond
  • with or without conviction, impose a fine
  • with or without conviction, place the child on probation
  • with or without conviction, release the child on a youth supervision order
  • convict the child and make a youth attendance order
  • convict the child and order that the child be detained in a youth residential centre, or
  • convict the child and order that the child be detained in a youth justice centre.

On finding a young person guilty of an offence, the court must consider what penalty to impose as an appropriate sentence for committing the offence. In making this decision the court may consider:

  • whether the child has been found guilty of any offence in the past
  • any report, submission or evidence given on behalf of the child
  • any victim impact statement

and must consider:

  • the child’s family relationship
  • the contents of any other report requested by the court
  • the suitability of the sentence to the child
  • the need to protect the community.

Young people on community-based orders and in custody are supervised by Youth Justice staff of the Department of Health & Human Services.

Deferral of Sentencing

If the court considers that it is in the best interests of the child to defer sentencing, it may do so for a period of up to four months. The case is adjourned to a fixed date and a pre-sentence report or further pre-sentence report may be called for. The period of deferral is usually ordered to allow the young person to take steps to address the issues that led to their offending behaviour. The court may also defer sentencing to allow the young person to participate in a group conference. The court will sentence the young person at the end of the deferral period taking into account any progress the young person may have made during that time.