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Subject to the pilot program, establish a statutory youth diversion scheme


Who is leading the change

  • Department of Justice and Community Safety

The Victorian Government, subject to successful evaluation of the Youth Diversion Program Pilot, establish a statutory youth diversion scheme.

  • Victorian Government has established the Children’s Court Youth Diversion (CCYD) service, a State-wide youth diversion scheme operating in the Children’s Court.

    CCYD provides an opportunity for eligible children and young people to address the harm caused by their offending by taking responsibility and completing a diversion activity or activities. On successful completion of the diversion activity or activities, charges are discharged, with a non-disclosable criminal record for the offences subject to the diversion order.

    Diversion coordinators undertake assessment, develop diversion plans, provide advice to the court on children’s suitability for diversion, and support children and young people to complete their plan. Diversion coordinators then update the Court on a young person’s progress and completion of the diversion plan.

    Currently pre-plea diversion in the Children’s Court operates under existing legislative provisions for adult diversion in the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic). The Department of Justice and Regulation has developed a legislative proposal to establish a statutory youth diversion scheme in the Children’s Court.

  • The 2018-19 Budget is providing $12.9 million to continue the CCYD service. This builds on the 2016-17 Victorian State Budget, which committed $5.6 million over two years for the delivery of a pre-plea diversion service in the Children’s Court.

    As part of our approach to implement a statutory youth diversion scheme the Victorian Government has undertaken the following activities:

    • implemented the State-wide rollout of the CCYD from 1 January 2017
    • employed 20 diversion coordinators to deliver CCYD in 57 Children's Courts including the Children's Koori Courts. In the first nine months following its commencement, CCYD responded to over 1120 young people
    • delivered the CCYD using draft guidelines informed by the findings of the Evaluation of the Youth Diversion Pilot Program, which had operated in nine courts from June 2015 to December 2016
    • introduced legislation, to give effect to the recommendation for a pre-plea diversion program to be established by legislation to afford youth diversion the same status as adult diversion

    Extensive consultation occurred to formalise the draft CCYD guidelines, which ensure the flexibility to meet the varying needs of young people, particularly those from groups that are over represented in the courts. Consultation also occurred with multiple stakeholders on the legislative proposal, including the Children’s Court, Victoria Police, Victoria Legal Aid, and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service. The legislation will ensure children and young people have access to diversion that is consistent, coherent, principles-based, and tailored to the needs of young people.

    The scheme is provided for in the Children and Justice Legislation Amendment (Youth Justice Reform) Bill 2017, which was introduced into Parliament on 24 May 2017. The Bill received Royal Assent on 26 September 2017 and relevant provisions commenced on 20 December 2017. Implementation of CCYD has taken into account the findings of the Youth Justice Review led by Penny Armytage and Professor James Ogloff, to inform the delivery of youth support, youth diversion and youth justice services for Victoria.

  • Implemented.

Reviewed 17 May 2020

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