In 2020–21, the Children’s Court most often sentenced children and young people to:
- youth diversion (imposed in 37.4% of cases)
- a good behaviour bond (imposed in 22.2% of cases)
- probation (imposed in 12.7% of cases).
The percentage of cases receiving youth diversion increased from 0.6% (22 cases) in 2014–15 to 37.4% (819 cases) in 2020–21. Youth diversion was introduced in Victoria in 2015. It is available in all Children’s Court locations as part of a statewide youth diversion program. Youth diversion is imposed under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic).
Cases sentenced to a custodial order (a youth residential centre order or a youth justice centre order) increased from 1.6% in 2006–07 to 5.7% in 2020–21.
The use of fines declined from 67.0% in 2006–07 to 2.4% in 2020–21. There was a spike in fines in 2006–07 because the Children’s Court processed large numbers of infringements at that time.
The use of good behaviour bonds peaked at 36.1% in 2014–15 but then declined to 22.2% in 2020–21.
The proportion of cases sentenced to probation reached a high of 20.6% in 2014–15 but then declined to 12.7% in 2020–21.
Youth control orders were imposed in three cases in 2019–20 (0.1% of sentencing outcomes) and five cases in 2020–21 (0.2%). Youth control orders were introduced on 1 June 2018. They are the most intensive sentencing order that a child or young person can serve in the community in Victoria.
Note: The percentages in the graph include cases that received youth diversion. Youth diversion is not a sentence and does not result from a formal finding of guilt. However, it is an important disposition that the Children's Court can use to divert low-level offenders from the criminal justice system.
Percentage of cases sentenced in the Children’s Court, by sentencing outcome
Hover over the lines in the graph to display the sentencing outcome, year, number of cases and percentage of cases. Select and deselect sentencing outcomes using the key at the top of the graph. Double-click on the key to reset the graph.
Source: Court Services Victoria, unpublished data. Note that the data may be subject to revision to reflect amendments to records in Court Services Victoria’s databases.