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Youth Conferences

Juvenile Justice Teams (JJTs)

Eligibility to be referred to a Juvenile Justice team

The conference

Juvenile Justice Teams (JJTs)

Juvenile Justice Teams (JJTs) are an alternative way to deal with young people who have committed an offence. Referrals can be made by the police or the Children’s Court . A referral to a Juvenile Justice Team is more serious than a caution but less serious than a court proceeding. Generally, first time offenders are referred to a Juvenile Justice Team rather than required to go to court.

A Juvenile Justice Team proceed, in the presence of the young person, and specify terms for the young person to comply with (also known as the ‘action plan’).

This is an alternative to going to court and the juvenile will not have a criminal record recorded against them if they comply with the action plan.

These types of punishments are intended to promote the development of the young offender within their family group, to be the least restrictive option that is appropriate and to help the offender accept responsibility for their offences.  It seeks to deal with the reasons why a young person has committed an offence in order to prevent them from offending in future. The involvement of the child’s family is crucial to this aim.


Eligibility to be referred to a Juvenile Justice team

A young person who has committed an offence can be referred to a Juvenile Justice Team by the Court or prosecutor if:

  1. The offence is covered by the Act (see above) ;
  2. The prosecution or the court decides that referring the case to a Juvenile Justice Team is appropriate;
  3. The young person admits the offence;  and
  4. The young person, an adult responsible for the young person (e.g. parent or guardian), and the victim all consent to having a conference.

When deciding whether to refer a case to a Juvenile Justice Team, the young person’s past convictions will be taken into account.


The conference

The conference can only go ahead if the young offender, their responsible adult (e.g. parent or guardian), and the victim all agree to the offence being dealt with by the Juvenile Justice Team. The responsible adult must also agree to attend and participate in the conference.

A Juvenile Justice Team conference involves the Juvenile Justice Team Coordinator (who runs the conference), the young offender, their responsible adult, a police officer and sometimes the victim.  If the young person is Aboriginal, then a member of the Aboriginal community may also be invited to attend the meeting. There are no lawyers allowed at the conference .

The purpose of the conference is to reach an agreement on an action plan for the young offender. The action plan may include a formal apology, agreeing to be assessed for counselling, a voluntary work task, or paying a sum of money. The type of punishment will take into account the young person’s age and maturity, and any conditions that have been set by their family, such as being grounded.

The action plan must be agreed to by all participants of the conference before it is enforceable. If no plan can be agreed on, the matter will go back to the police or the court.

If the young person agrees to the action plan, the Juvenile Justice Team Coordinator will record and monitor the young person’s commitments. If the young person successfully completes the action plan, the matter is dismissed and no criminal conviction is recorded. If the young person fails to complete the action plan, however, the matter will be referred back to the police or the court.

This page was last updated 28 June 2015.

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