SACStat Glossary

Refer also to our Methodology, How to Use SACStat page and Instruction Manual.

Abbreviations

ADU: adjourned undertaking

CBO: community-based order

Cth: Commonwealth

CCO: community correction order

ICO: intensive correction order

NPP: non-parole period

PSS: partially suspended sentence

TES: total effective sentence

Vic: Victoria

WSS: wholly suspended sentence

YJCO: youth justice centre order

Adjourned Undertaking

A court may adjourn proceedings for up to 5 years, with or without conviction, and release the offender on an undertaking with conditions (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) ss 72, 75). On SACStat, adjourned undertakings are grouped under adjourned undertaking/discharge/dismissal.

Age

Data on the age of offenders gives age at sentence. SACStat does not provide data on the offender's age when an offence was committed.

Aggregate Sentence

An aggregate sentence is a single sentence for multiple charges within a case, as opposed to individual sentences for individual charges. An individual case can have a combination of aggregate and non-aggregate sentences handed down at the one hearing.

Case

A case is a collection of one or more charges against a person sentenced at the one hearing.

Charge

A charge is a single proven count of an offence.

Community-Based Order

The community-based order was abolished on 16 January 2012. Prior to this date, a court could impose the order for up to 2 years, with or without recording a conviction. A community-based order was a non-custodial sentence served in the community. It involved core conditions and at least one program condition (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) pt 3 div 3: now repealed).

Community Correction Order

The community correction order was introduced on 16 January 2012, replacing such orders as the intensive correction order, home detention and the community-based order. A community correction order is served in the community. It may require the offender to comply with a range of conditions and it may be combined with a fine or imprisonment. The Magistrates' Court can impose a community correction order for up to 2 years for one offence, 4 years for 2 offences and 5 years for 3 or more offences. For offences sentenced on or after 20 March 2017, the higher courts can impose a community correction order for up to 5 years for one or more offences (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) pt 3A).

A court cannot impose a community correction order (or another non-custodial order) for the following Category 1 offences where the offence was committed on or after 20 March 2017: murder, causing serious injury intentionally in circumstances of gross violence, causing serious injury recklessly in circumstances of gross violence, rape, rape by compelling sexual penetration, incest (victim under the age of 18), incest – de facto (victim under the age of 18), sexual penetration with a child under the age of 12, persistent sexual abuse of a child under the age of 16, trafficking in a large commercial quantity of a drug of dependence and cultivation of a large commercial quantity of a narcotic plant.

A court cannot impose a community correction order for the following Category 2 offences where the offence was committed on or after 20 March 2017, unless the court gives special reasons (such as the impaired mental functioning of the accused): manslaughter, child homicide, causing serious injury intentionally, kidnapping, kidnapping (common law), arson causing death, trafficking in a commercial quantity of a drug of dependence, cultivation of a commercial quantity of a narcotic plant and providing documents or information facilitating terrorist acts.

Company

A company is a business or undertaking that has legal personality separate from its members.

In the higher courts data on SACStat. companies that have committed offences are listed in the 'Age of the Offender' and 'Gender of the Offender' tabs under 'Case Profile', in a separate category from all other offenders.

In the Magistrates' Court data on SACStat, companies that have committed offences are included in the data relating to all cases and all charges, but not in the data relating to the gender or age group of the offender.

Courtlink

The Courtlink database contains details of Magistrates' Court cases, including the type of offences charged, statutory references, sentencing outcomes and the age and gender of offenders. It is the main source of data for the Magistrates Court statistics on SACStat.

Court Secure Treatment Order

A court secure treatment order is a term of detention and compulsory treatment in a designated mental health service (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) s 94A). The order came into operation on 1 July 2014, replacing the previous hospital security orders (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) s 93A: now repealed). Data for these orders is incorporated under the 'other' sentence type.

Custodial Supervision Order

A custodial supervision order is a disposition under the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 (Vic) s 26(2)(b) for people who have been found not guilty because of mental impairment. This disposition is excluded from SACStat.

Discharge

Upon conviction, an offender may be discharged unconditionally (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) s 73). On SACStat, this sentence type is grouped under adjourned undertaking/discharge/dismissal.

Discharge with recognizance release order (Cth)

Discharge with recognizance release order is a disposition under the Crimes Act 1914 ((Cth) s 19B(1)(d) permitting the release of a person, without conviction, on recognizance if they have been proven to commit a federal offence but the court finds it expedient to provide only a nominal punishment. A discharge with recognizance release order is grouped under adjourned undertaking/discharge/dismissal for the higher courts.

Dismissal

A court may make an order dismissing a proven charge without recording a conviction or imposing a penalty (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) s 76). On SACStat, dismissal is grouped under adjourned undertaking/discharge/dismissal.

Drug Treatment Order

Under a drug treatment order, a court imposes a sentence of up to 24 months' imprisonment, which is deferred while the offender undergoes treatment and supervision (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) s 18X). Data for this order is incorporated under the other sentence type for the Magistrates' Court.

Fine

A fine is a monetary penalty that can be imposed on its own or in addition to another order, with or without recording a conviction (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) pt 3B). Fine amounts are indicated in dollars ($).

Higher Courts

The higher courts comprise the County Court of Victoria and the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Hospital Security Order

A hospital security order was a term of detention in a mental health facility (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) s 93A: now repealed). On 1 July 2014, the order was replaced by the court secure treatment order (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) s 94A). Data for these orders is incorporated under the 'other' sentence type.

Imprisonment

Imprisonment is the most severe sentencing order available in Victoria. When imposing imprisonment, a court may set a non-parole period (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) pt 3 div 2 sub-div 1).

Imprisonment by Non-Parole Period

SACStat uses tile graphs to show combinations of total effective sentences of imprisonment and non-parole periods imposed in the higher courts. The relative size of a tile indicates the number and percentage of cases that have each combination (users can view the number and percentage by hovering over the tile).

Intensive Correction Order

The intensive correction order was abolished on 16 January 2012. Prior to this date, a court could impose a sentence of imprisonment for up to one year served as intensive correction in the community (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) pt 3 div 2 sub-div 1B: now repealed).

Magistrates' Court

The Magistrates' Court (Victoria's lower court) can hear all summary (less serious) offences, including indictable offences triable summarily.

Maximum

Under higher courts summary statistics, the maximum is the longest sentence length or highest fine amount for an offence.

Median

Under higher courts summary statistics, the median is the 50th percentile or the value that 50% of values fall below and 50% of values fall above. For example, if the median imprisonment length for an offence is 2 years, 50% of imprisonment terms for that offence are below 2 years and 50% are above 2 years.

Minimum

Under higher courts summary statistics, the minimum is the shortest sentence length or lowest fine amount imposed for an offence.

Mixed Sentence

A mixed sentence is a combination of two sentence types imposed on a single charge. Only the most severe sentence in a mixed sentence is included in SACStat.

Non-Custodial Supervision Order

A non-custodial supervision order is a disposition under the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 (Vic) s 26(2)(b) for people who have been found not guilty because of mental impairment. This disposition is excluded from SACStat.

Non-Parole Period

A non-parole period is the period that an offender must serve in prison before being able to apply for parole. When an offender is sentenced to a term of imprisonment of one year or more, the court may fix a non-parole period. If set, the non-parole period must be at least 6 months less than the term of imprisonment. A non-parole period cannot be set for sentences of less than 12 months. Where a court does not set a non-parole period, the offender must serve the entirety of the term of imprisonment in prison (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) ss 11–14).

Offender

An offender is someone who has been found guilty of, or has pleaded guilty to, an offence and has been sentenced.

'Other' Sentence Type

For the Magistrates' Court, the 'other' sentence type includes:

  • drug treatment order.

For the higher courts, the 'other' sentence type includes:

  • good behaviour bond
  • hospital security order
  • court secure treatment order
  • probation order
  • reconizance release order (Cth)
  • residential treatment order
  • restricted involuntary treatment order
  • youth supervision order.

Partially Suspended Sentence

A partially suspended sentence is an abolished order that involved an offender serving part of an imprisonment sentence in prison and part in the community (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) pt 3 div 2 sub-div 3: now repealed). See also Suspended Sentence.

Part to Serve

The 'part to serve' is the term of imprisonment that an offender serves in prison as part of a partially suspended sentence.

Principal Offence

A principal offence is the offence within a case that received the most severe sentence. In cases where charges of different offences have the same sentence, the principal offence is the charge with the most serious offence according to the National Offence Index (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009, Cat. No. 1234.0.55.001).

Case data for the higher courts only includes the principal offence in a case.

Data on principal offences is not included for the Magistrates' Court (Magistrates' Court case data incorporates the number of cases that have at least one charge of an offence). If a Commonwealth offence is the principal offence in a case sentenced in the Magistrates' Court, that case and all of its charges are excluded from SACStat.

Probation

A probation order may be imposed under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) s 380. Probation requires the child to adhere to conditions for a term not exceeding 12 months, or 18 months for offences with a maximum penalty of more than 10 years' imprisonment. Probation is incorporated under the 'other' sentence type for the higher courts. It is mainly used in the Children's Court, but it can appear in the higher courts data if a child has their charges uplifted to the County or Supreme court.

Recognizance Release Order (Cth)

A recognizance release order is a disposition under the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) s 20(1)(a). This order can be imposed if a person is convicted of a federal offence. The order permits the release of a person upon the giving of security, with or without sureties by recognizance or otherwise on condition that the offender is of good behaviour for a period not exceeding five years. A recognizance release order is grouped under the 'other' sentence type for the higher courts.

Residential Treatment Order

A residential treatment order may be imposed for up to 5 years on an offender with an intellectual disability who has been found guilty of a serious offence or an indecent assault. Data for this order is incorporated under the 'other' sentence type for the higher courts.

Restricted Involuntary Treatment Order

The restricted involuntary treatment order required an offender with a mental illness to be detained in an approved mental health service for no longer than 2 years (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) s 93: now repealed). The order could not be imposed on offenders who were found guilty of a serious offence. On 1 July 2014, this order was replaced by the inpatient treatment order. Data for restricted involuntary treatment orders and inpatient treatment orders is incorporated under the 'other' sentence type for the higher courts.

Sentence Length

Sentence length is specified in months for the Magistrates' Court and in years for the higher courts. Sentence lengths are given for the following sentence types:

  • imprisonment
  • partially suspended sentence
  • wholly suspended sentence
  • community-based order
  • intensive correction order
  • community correction order.

Sentence lengths for youth justice centre orders are specified for the higher courts.

Suspended Sentence

A suspended sentence is a term of imprisonment that is wholly suspended ('wholly suspended sentence') or partially suspended ('partially suspended sentence').

Suspended sentences have been abolished in Victoria for all offences committed on or after 1 September 2014. Suspended sentences have been abolished in the higher courts for 'serious' or 'significant' offences committed between 1 May 2011 and 31 August 2013 and in the Magistrates' Court for 'serious' and 'significant' offences committed before 1 September 2014. For 'serious' or 'significant' offences committed between 1 November 2006 and 30 April 2011, the higher courts may only suspend a sentence if there are 'exceptional circumstances'.

The power to suspend a sentence of imprisonment is available for Commonwealth offences. Such sentences require the offender to enter into a good behaviour bond and agree to comply with court orders (Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) s 20(1)(b)).

Total Effective Sentence

A total effective sentence is the total of the sentences of imprisonment imposed for all charges in a case, taking into account whether the sentences are served concurrently (at the same time) or cumulatively (one after the other). For a case involving a single charge, the total effective sentence is the sentence imposed for that charge.

Wholly Suspended Sentence

A wholly suspended sentence is an abolished order that involved an offender serving an imprisonment term in the community (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) pt 3 div 2 sub-div 3: now repealed). See also Suspended Sentence

Youth Justice Centre Order

A youth justice centre order can be imposed on an offender aged 15 to 20 years at the time of sentencing. This order involves a period of detention in a youth justice centre. As at 31 July 2017, the maximum period of detention under a youth justice centre order is 2 years for offences sentenced in the Magistrates' Court and 3 years for offences sentenced in the higher courts (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) s 32).

Last update 1 August 2017 © Sentencing Advisory Council, State of Victoria, 2017

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