Under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic), the Children’s Court may make an order dismissing a proven charge against a child without recording a conviction. This is called a dismissal.
An adult court can also order a dismissal when sentencing a young offender under the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic).
Under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic), the Children’s Court can order an undertaking. For this order, the child is released unsupervised on the condition that they undertake to do particular acts, or refrain from doing particular acts.
Undertakings last for a period not exceeding six months, or 12 months in exceptional circumstances.
The child must agree to the undertaking. No conviction is recorded.
Around 4% of cases receive an undertaking in the Children’s Court (2020–21).
Types of Undertaking
There are two types of undertakings for children:
- non-accountable undertakings
- accountable undertakings.
Where a non-accountable undertaking is imposed, the charge or charges are dismissed. If a child breaches a non-accountable undertaking, the court cannot take any further action.
When an accountable undertaking is imposed, the child is accountable for any breach of the undertaking. If a child breaches an accountable undertaking, the court can order the child to reappear before the court. The court may then:
- cancel the undertaking
- continue or vary the undertaking or
- revoke the order, dismiss the charge and impose a fine of not more than one penalty unit.
A court can also order an adjourned undertaking when sentencing a young offender under the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic).
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