Restitution and Compensation Orders

On 13 June 2017, the Attorney-General, the Hon Martin Pakula, MP, asked the Council to advise on whether restitution and compensation orders should become sentencing orders, or whether they should remain as orders in addition to sentence (sometimes called ancillary orders). Restitution and compensation orders are made to victims of crime under the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic).

Terms of Reference

The request for advice followed a recommendation from the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) in The Role of Victims of Crime in the Criminal Trial Process: Report.

Recommendation 49 of that report states:

The Attorney-General should ask the Sentencing Advisory Council to review whether orders made under Divisions 1 and 2 of Part 4 of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) should become a sentencing option. The review should consider:

(a) whether the purposes of sentencing should include the financial reparation of victims
(b) whether there should be a presumption in favour of courts making such orders
(c) whether such orders should be enforced by the state in the manner of a fine.

The terms of reference state that, if it is concluded that restitution and compensation orders should become a sentencing option, the Council should consider the need for any additional consequential reforms including:

  • process and procedure in relation to courts of summary and indictable jurisdiction
  • the regard to be given to an offender’s financial circumstances
  • victims’ appeal rights.

The Council was asked to report back to the Attorney-General by no later than 1 September 2018.

Consultation and Releases

In preparing its advice, the Council undertook extensive consultation with victims, government and non-government stakeholders in the criminal justice system, and the broader Victorian community.

The Council released Restitution and Compensation Orders: Issues and Options Paper in March 2018.

The Council’s final advice is outlined in Restitution and Compensation Orders: Report, released in October 2018.