From 1 June 2018, the Children’s Court may impose a youth control order. The order is served in the community under strict conditions and is now the most intensive sentencing order that a child can serve in the community in Victoria.
The court may impose a youth control order if:
- the child commits an offence that is punishable by imprisonment
- the court is satisfied that the child is a suitable person to be placed on the order
- the child consents to the order
- a youth control order plan has been developed.
The court can impose a youth control order for up to 12 months, but the order cannot extend longer than the child’s twenty-first birthday.
Youth control orders include strict mandatory conditions, such as requiring the child to:
- not commit another offence while the order is in force
- report to the Secretary of the Department of Justice and Community Safety within two working days after the order is made
- report to the Secretary as required while the order is in force
- comply with any lawful and reasonable directions given by the Secretary
- participate in education, training or work
- notify the Secretary of any change in residence, school or employment
- only leave Victoria with the permission of the Secretary.
The court may order optional conditions, including requiring the child to:
- participate in community service
- undergo alcohol or drug treatment
- attend counselling
- reside at a specific address
- abide by a curfew
- not have contact with specified persons
- participate in cultural programs
- not go to particular places or areas
- not use specified social media if this is required to protect the community.
Monitoring a Child on a Youth Control Order
Children on youth control orders must attend court at least once a month for the first half of the order. This is so the court can monitor the child’s compliance with the order and ensure the conditions of the order are still suitable for the child. At the hearing, the court may vary the order if it thinks this would be appropriate.
Revoking a Youth Control Order
If a child breaches the conditions of a youth control order, an application can be made to the court for the order to be cancelled. The court may then revoke the order if:
- the child has failed to comply with the order to such an extent that they are no longer suitable to be on the order or
- the child commits an offence punishable by at least five years’ imprisonment.
If the court revokes the youth control order, it must sentence the child to detention, unless the court considers that detention is not appropriate due to exceptional circumstances.
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