SACStat Glossary

Adjourned Undertaking

An order that a criminal matter is set aside for up to five years and that the offender is released, with or without conviction, on an undertaking with conditions (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) ss 72, 75).

Age

On SACStat, the age of the offender at the date of their sentence.

Aggregate Sentence

A single sentence (for example, a term of imprisonment or a fine amount) imposed for two or more charges within a case, without the individual sentence for each separate charge being specified. A case may include a combination of aggregate and non-aggregate sentences handed down at the one hearing.

Case

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

Charge

On SACStat, a single count of a sentenced offence.

Community-Based Order

A non-custodial order of up to two years’ duration to be served in the community with or without conviction. The person serving the order would be subject to core conditions and at least one program condition (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) pt 3 div 3: now repealed). The community-based order was abolished on 16 January 2012.

Community Correction Order

A flexible order served in the community that may require the person to comply with a range of conditions. It was introduced on 16 January 2012, replacing such orders as the intensive correction order, home detention and the community-based order.

The Magistrates' Court may impose a community correction order for up to two years for one offence, four years for two offences and five years for three or more offences. The higher courts (the County Court and the Supreme Court) may impose a community correction order for up to five years for one or more offences (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) pt 3A). The community correction order could be combined with a variety of other sentences during the reference period. Initially, the community correction order could be combined with imprisonment of up to three months’ duration, but this was increased to a maximum of two years’ imprisonment in September 2014, then reduced to one year’s imprisonment in March 2017. The community correction order may currently be combined with imprisonment of up to one year or a fine.

On SACStat, if a case or charge receives a community correction order combined with imprisonment, it is included under ‘imprisonment’, not under ‘community correction order’.

For some offences (described as ‘Category 1 and 2 offences’), there are limits on the use of community correction orders (and other non-custodial orders). For some Category 1 offences committed on or after 20 March 2017 (such as murder and causing serious injury intentionally in circumstances of gross violence) a court cannot impose a community correction order (including a community correction order combined with a term of imprisonment) or any other non-custodial order.

Company

A business or undertaking that exists as a separate entity from its members.

Court Secure Treatment Order

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 hospital security orders (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) s 93A: now repealed).

Custodial Supervision Order

A disposition for people who have been found not guilty because of mental impairment or found guilty at a special hearing (Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness To Be Tried) Act 1997 (Vic) s 26(2)(a)).

Discharge

An order that an offender may be discharged unconditionally upon conviction (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) s 73).

Discharge with Recognizance Release Order (Commonwealth)

Discharge with recognizance release order is a disposition under the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) s 19B(1)(d). The order permits 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 (Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) s 19B(1)(d)). A discharge with recognizance release order is included in data for the higher courts and is grouped under Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal.

Dismissal

An order for a proven charge to be dismissed without a conviction being recorded or a penalty being imposed (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) s 76).

Drug Treatment Order

An order for imprisonment of up to 24 months that is deferred while the offender undergoes drug treatment and supervision (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) s 18X).

Fine

A penalty requiring an offender to pay a sum of money to the state. A fine can be imposed with or without conviction (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) pt 3B).

Higher Courts

The County Court of Victoria and the Supreme Court of Victoria. The higher courts can hear all indictable offences as well as summary (less serious) offences that have been uplifted to the higher courts, by agreement of both parties.

Imprisonment

The most severe sentencing order available in Victoria. Imprisonment restricts an offender’s freedom by confining them in prison. When imposing imprisonment, the court may set a non-parole period (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) pt 3 div 2 sub-div 1).

Intensive Correction Order

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

Magistrates' Court

Victoria's lower court. The Magistrates’ Court can hear all summary (less serious) offences and indictable offences triable summarily (more serious offences tried in the Magistrates’ Court).

Maximum

The longest sentence length or highest fine amount for an offence presented in SACStat. Not to be confused with the Maximum Penalty.

Median

The middle value of sentences (lengths or fine amounts) presented in SACStat.

The median is the middle value in a set or a distribution of values. For example, in the following set of values: 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, the median value is 4. It represents a statistical midpoint, where half of the values (1, 2, 2, 3, 3) are below the median, and half of the values (5, 5, 6, 6, 7) are above the median. If a set has an even number of values, the two middle values (sometimes referred to as the lower median and the upper median) are averaged to find the median.

Minimum

The shortest sentence length or lowest fine amount imposed for an offence presented in SACStat.

Mixed Sentence

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

Non-Custodial Supervision Order

A disposition for people who have been found not guilty because of mental impairment or found guilty at a special hearing (Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness To Be Tried) Act 1997 (Vic) s 26(2)(b)).

Non-Parole Period

The period that an offender must serve in prison before being able to apply for parole. A non-parole period cannot be set for sentences of less than 12 months. The court has the discretion to fix a non-parole period for imprisonment terms of between one and two years. In most circumstances, the court must impose a non-parole period for imprisonment terms of over two years. If set, the non-parole period must be at least six months less than the term of imprisonment. If the court does not set a non-parole period, the offender must serve their entire imprisonment term in prison (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) ss 11–14).

Offender

A person or company that has been found guilty of an offence.

Partially Suspended Sentence

An order that involved an offender serving an imprisonment sentence partly in prison and partly in the community (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) pt 3 div 2 sub-div 3: now repealed). Partially suspended sentences were abolished in stages in 2014 for state and common law offences, but they remain available for Commonwealth (federal) offences. See Suspended Sentence.

Part to Serve

The term of imprisonment that an offender must serve in prison as part of a partially suspended sentence.

Principal Proven Offence

The offence within a case that received the most severe sentence (in terms of sentence type and length) according to the sentencing hierarchy. In circumstances where multiple charges of different offences receive equally severe sentences, the principal proven offence is allocated to the most serious of those offences according to the National Offence Index (Australian Bureau of Statistics, cat. no. 1234.0.55.001).

Probation

An order requiring a 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 (Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) s 380). Probation is primarily used in the Children's Court, but it can be used in the higher courts if a child has their charges uplifted to the County Court or the Supreme Court.

Recognizance Release Order (Commonwealth)

An order releasing a person on recognizance (Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) s 20(1)(a)). This sentence is available for federal offences.

Residential Treatment Order

An order lasting up to five years imposed on offenders with an intellectual disability who have been found guilty of a serious offence, an indecent assault (committed prior to 1 July 2015), sexual assault (committed on or after 1 July 2015) or sexual assault by compelling sexual touching (committed on or after 1 July 2015).

Suspended Sentence

A term of imprisonment that is wholly suspended (wholly suspended sentence) or partially suspended (partially suspended sentence). The order requires the offender to be of good behaviour during the portion of the sentence that is served in the community.

Suspended sentences are abolished in Victoria for all offences committed on or after 1 September 2014.

Suspended sentences are abolished for serious or significant offences committed between 1 May 2011 and 31 August 2013 and sentenced in the higher courts. 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 Magistrates’ Court may impose suspended sentences for offences committed before 1 September 2014 unless the offence is a serious or significant offence.

The power to suspend a sentence of imprisonment (either wholly or partially) remains available for Commonwealth (federal) offences (Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) s 20(1)(b)).

Total Effective Sentence

For imprisonment sentences, the total of the sentences imposed for all charges in a case, after factoring in whether sentences will be served cumulatively (one after the other) or concurrently (at the same time), but before a non-parole period has been set. The total effective sentence for imprisonment sentences is also known as the ‘head sentence’.

For non-custodial sentences, the total effective sentence is the most severe penalty imposed on an offender for all their charges in the case. For example, in a case in which a combination of a fine and a community correction order is imposed on the charges, the total effective sentence would be a community correction order.

Unconditional Release

A disposition for people who have been found not guilty because of mental impairment (Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness To Be Tried) Act 1997 (Vic) s 23(b)) or found guilty at a special hearing (Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness To Be Tried) Act 1997 (Vic) s 18(4)(b)).

Wholly Suspended Sentence

An 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). Wholly suspended sentences were abolished in stages in 2014 for state and common law offences, but they remain available for Commonwealth (federal) offences. See Suspended Sentence.

Youth Justice Centre Order

A period of detention in a youth justice centre imposed on a young offender aged 15 to 20 years at the time of sentencing (Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) ss 360(1)(j), 412–413). As at 31 July 2017, the maximum period of detention under a youth justice centre order is two years for offences sentenced in the Magistrates' Court.

From 30 November 2017, the maximum period of detention under a youth justice centre order is four years for offences sentenced in the higher courts (Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) s 32). The maximum period was previously three years for offences sentenced in the higher courts.

A court cannot make a youth justice centre order for offenders aged between 15 and 20 years if the court is satisfied that ‘exceptional circumstances’ exist.

Last update 24 May 2022 © Sentencing Advisory Council, State of Victoria, 2022

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