Sentencing Outcomes in the Children's Court

In 2017–18, the Children’s Court most often sentenced children and young people to:

  • youth diversion (imposed in 34.4% of cases)
  • a good behaviour bond (imposed in 21.8% of cases)
  • probation (imposed in 13.6% of cases).

Only 7.3% of cases received a custodial sentence. 

The percentage of cases receiving youth diversion increased from 0.6% (22 cases) in 2014–15 to 34.4% (1,312 cases) in 2017–18. Youth diversion first became available in Victoria under the Youth Diversion Pilot Program, which ran from June 2015 to December 2016. Youth diversion was initially available at a limited number of metropolitan and regional sites in Victoria. In January 2017, it was extended to all Children’s Court locations as part of a government-funded state-wide youth diversion program. Youth diversion is imposed under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic). 

The use of fines declined from 67.0% in 2006–07 to 6.3% in 2017–18. There was a spike in 2006–07 because the court processed large numbers of infringements at that time.

The use of good behaviour bonds gradually increased, from 15.7% in 2006–07 to 36.1% in 2014–15, but then declined to 21.8% in 2017–18.

Cases sentenced to probation increased from 7.4% in 2006–07 to 20.6% in 2014–15, but then declined to 13.6% in 2017–18.

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 7.3% in 2017–18.

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 from July 2004 to June 2018 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Source: Court Services Victoria, unpublished data.