Restitution and Compensation Orders

On 15 June 2017, the Council received a request from the Attorney-General, the Hon Martin Pakula, MP, to provide him with advice on restitution and compensation orders. The terms of reference ask whether restitution and compensation orders made for the benefit of victims under Divisions 1 and 2 of Part 4 of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) should become a sentencing option.

The request for advice follows a recommendation by the Victorian Law Reform Commission in its report The Role of Victims of Crime in the Criminal Trial Process (external link).

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 the Council concludes 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 has been requested to report to the Attorney-General by no later than 1 September 2018.

The Council is currently undertaking research on the issues raised by the terms of reference and will begin preliminary consultation in the second half of 2017.