In 2018–19, 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 23.5% of cases)
- probation (imposed in 12.1% of cases).
Only 5.8% of cases received a custodial sentence.
The percentage of cases receiving youth diversion increased from 0.6% (22 cases) in 2014–15 to 37.4% (1,318 cases) in 2018–19. 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 Children’s Court locations 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 5.2% in 2018–19. There was a spike in 2006–07 because the Children’s 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 23.5% in 2018–19.
Cases sentenced to probation increased from 7.4% in 2006–07 to 20.6% in 2014–15, but then cases declined to 12.1% in 2018–19.
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 5.8% in 2018–19.
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Source: Court Services Victoria, unpublished data.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.