Youth Justice System

The Young Offenders Act 1993 (‘the Act’) provides an alternative to court proceedings for young people who commit certain offences. The Act establishes a scheme of informal cautions, formal cautions and family conferences as a way of dealing with youth criminal behaviour.

The scheme emphasises the importance of the involvement of parents and guardians, the importance of offenders accepting responsibility for their actions and the importance of community based resolutions. It also seeks to reduce the disproportionate involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the criminal justice system.

Who is covered by the Act?

The Act covers young people aged 10 to 17 years at the time of the alleged offence.

What happens if I have committed an offence?

If you are aged 10 to 17 years and admit to a police officer that you have committed a minor offence, the police officer can:

a) give you an informal caution; or

b) give you a formal caution; or

c) make you attend a family conference to deal with the matter; or

d) charge you for the offence.

An offence is considered minor when taking into account the limited extent of the harm caused by your act, your character and attitude, the improbability of you re-offending and, where relevant, the attitude of your parents or guardians.

 

This information was last reviewed on 22 October 2010.