Council Releases 250th Sentencing Snapshot Among Seven Snapshots for Violence and Property Offences

Date of Publication
30 March 2021

" "The Council has released its 250th Sentencing Snapshot as part of a new set of Snapshots for seven offences sentenced in the County and Supreme Courts of Victoria.

The offences in the latest release are:

The new Snapshots highlight sentencing trends in the five years to 30 June 2020. They present data on the type and length of sentences imposed for the principal offence (the most serious offence in a case). 

Custodial Sentences Increase for Some Offences

Four of the seven offences had a general increase in custodial sentences as a proportion of all sentences. These offences were theft, arson, obtaining property by deception, and obtaining a financial advantage by deception.

The average prison sentence was highest in 2019-20 also for four of the seven offences:

  • murder (24 years and 2 months, excluding 13 life sentences)
  • culpable driving causing death (7 years and 9 months)
  • theft (1 year and 10 months)
  • obtaining property by deception (2 years and 7 months).

Standard Sentence Offences

Two of the seven offences (culpable driving causing death and murder) are standard sentence offences. A standard sentence is a ‘numerical guidepost’ that courts take into account when sentencing a standard sentence offence. A standard sentence applies to certain offences only when committed after 1 February 2018. Snapshots currently do not distinguish outcomes where standard sentences apply.

The average term of imprisonment for culpable driving causing death increased steadily from 6 years and 1 month in 2015-16 to 7 years and 9 months in 2019-20.

The average term of imprisonment for murder increased from 22 years and 3 months to 24 years and 2 months in 2019-20.

Use of Community Correction Orders for the Offences

People sentenced for theft were most commonly given an imprisonment sentence (73%). This is followed by community correction orders (15%). However, the use of community correction orders for theft dropped from 42% in 2017-18 to 7% in 2019-20.

Over the five years, the rate of community correction orders was low for sentencing these offences. Of the seven offences, community correction orders were most common for obtaining property by deception (27%) and obtaining a financial advantage by deception (24%).

The new Sentencing Snapshots are available for download from our website.