This procedure relates to the case management of young people who are subject to a deferral of sentence from a children's court.

 

When to use this procedure

When young people have attended a children’s court and been released subject to a deferral of sentencing.

 

Practice context and legislation

  • A children’s court may order a deferral of sentence if it is in the best interest of the young person to delay the sentencing outcome.
  • The young person must agree to the deferral. A deferral period may trial the young person’s suitability for a community-based order and provide them with assistance and support to manage in the community without further offending.
  • A deferral of sentencing follows a finding of guilt, and cannot exceed four months.
  • Youth justice is not always required to supervise young people on a deferral of sentence. If the court does not order a pre-sentence report, youth justice does not have a statutory role during a period of deferral.
  • During the deferral period, youth justice can implement interventions to divert young people from the criminal justice system or prevent the sentencing of a higher tariff order.
  • If the court orders a pre-sentence report, youth justice prepares and submits the report. Youth justice is also responsible for the organisation of appropriate community-based services to support the young person during the deferral period.
 

Roles and key tasks

Youth justice court advice worker

  • If a pre-sentence report is ordered, explain requirements to the young person.
  • Liaise with the relevant team leader to schedule the intake appointment within two working days of the court appearance.

Case manager

  • If there is no dedicated YJCAS worker, undertake tasks of the YJCAS worker.
  • If a pre-sentence report is ordered, undertake a supervisory and support role.
  • Provide case management.
  • Refer to appropriate community-based services.
  • Prepare the pre-sentence report.

Team leader / unit manager

  • Make arrangements for the young person’s intake appointment.
  • Endorse any reports prepared by the case manager during the deferral period.

Assistant Director / Manager Individual and Family Support

  • Provide oversight, direction and monitoring of the area youth justice program.
  • Provide case consultation particularly in relation to young people exhibiting high-risk behaviours.

Youth Justice Senior Practice Advisor

Provide consultation on case management and report recommendations issues, particularly in relation to young people exhibiting high-risk behaviours. This should occur subject to local area agreements between Assistant Director / Manager Individual and Family Support and the youth justice senior practice adviser.

 

The procedure in detail

Explain requirements

At court, explain the deferral of sentencing to the young person and schedule the first intake appointment within two working days of the court appearance.

Explain the role of youth justice during the deferral period and that a report will be prepared and submitted to the court for the next appearance date.

If the deferral of sentencing is for a group conference, refer to procedures for group conferencing.

Privacy and consent

Provide the young person with a copy of Your personal information – information for young people receiving youth justice services.

This can be found as an appendix in the Protocol between child protection and youth justice 2013.

Providing this notice will allow for the collection, use, disclosure and storage of the young person’s personal and health information.

Intake and allocation

Start the intake process, noting that some information exchanged during the process will not be necessary for young people on a deferral of sentence.

Refer to the procedure for 'Intake' for further information.

A team leader will allocate the young person to a youth justice worker who will supervise them during the deferral period, obtain information and prepare the pre-sentence report.

Supervision and support

A young person on a deferral of sentence does not need to participate in the client service planning process.

Case managers are not required to complete a Victorian Offender Inventory for Youth (VONIY).

Undertake a planned approach to case management and record all actions, information and interactions in Client Relationship Information System (CRIS).

Support and assist the young person to attend appointments and conduct outreach visits as necessary.

If appropriate, apply for brokerage resources to purchase community-based support, specialist services, education or training needs and to subsidise accommodation options. Refer to the procedure for 'Brokerage expenditure'.

Make referrals to services as early as possible in the deferral period to help the young person connect with support networks before the end of the deferral period.

If the young person’s behaviour or offending places them or the community at high risk, consult with line management and/or the Youth Justice Senior Practice Advisor to determine whether to advise the court and return the matter earlier than the scheduled return date.

Frequency of contact

At the start of the deferral period, organise at least one appointment per week and vary the frequency of contact as the deferral period progresses or circumstances change.

Ensure all attendances and attempts to contact the young person are documented in the court report and on CRIS.

Preparation of reports

Report on any progress made by the young person throughout the deferral period.

Ensure all reports submitted to the court are endorsed by line management as required.

Submit all reports to court three working days before the return date.

If the young person's circumstances change during the deferral period (after the pre-sentence report has been submitted), a progress report may be required.

If a young person is already subject to a youth justice order and receives a non-supervised deferral, consider submitting a progress report to court at the end of the deferral period.

A deferral generally follows a finding of guilt, and is used to inform sentencing.

Non-attendance and the warning process

Lawful order and formal warning processes do not operate for young people during a deferral of sentence, but line managers can reinforce attendance if this is required.

If all attempts to contact the young person are unsuccessful, inform the young person’s legal representative of non-attendance at youth justice appointments.

If contact with the young person has not been made midway through the deferral period, write a letter to the magistrate who deferred the sentencing, informing them of the young person's non-compliance. Include all strategies used to contact and engage the young person.

Interstate and overseas travel

If the young person is not on any other youth justice orders, authorisation is not required for a young person on a deferral to travel interstate or overseas.

However, explain to the young person and their family or guardians that extended absence will limit the capacity to organise support services or prepare a comprehensive court report.

Check the young person's bail status and conditions in relation to interstate travel.

If the young person is on bail, advise them that they must notify the police informant if they propose to travel interstate or overseas.