Pre-court diversion for young offenders is provided for in the legislation of all jurisdictions and comprises part of a restorative justice framework. Restorative justice focuses on the needs of the victim, the offender and the community and encourages the offender to take responsibility for his or her actions and make reparations. Young offenders are treated differently to adult offenders, given their age and maturity, but the criminal justice system recognises that they need to take responsibility for the offending behaviour and be held accountable for their actions. Pre-court diversion in all jurisdictions generally consists of informal warnings, formal warnings and referral to conferences at the first instance contact with the criminal justice system is made, with court attendance being the last option. Generally, the young offender must have admitted to the offending behaviour and consent to the diversionary practice. The offences eligible for diversion tend to be summary offences or minor offences, and are more comprehensively defined in the relevant legislation for each jurisdiction.
DUAO - 2011 - Vol 36(3)
Developments around the country
DownUnderAllOver is a round-up of legal news from both State and federal jurisdictions, and contains topical articles and short pieces from Alternative Law Journal committees around the country.
The Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry, established to inquire into the flood events of December 2010 and January 2011, has presented an interim report to the Queensland government. The report can be accessed at:
Young people aged between 14 and 24 years are heavily represented in Australian crime victimisation statistics, for crimes against the person. Nevertheless, victim agencies are typically designed primarily to assist adults. This means there is a lack of services that are both available and accessible for young victims of crime. While each jurisdiction is grappling with this issue, in South Australia it has formally been flagged by Victim Support Service (‘VSS’). This organisation is currently equipped to assist victims over the age of 16.
The Hon Michael Kirby, AC CMG, delivered the inaugural Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Lecture — My Journey with Social Justice — on Monday 2 May. The lecture also officially launched the Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Fund.* In June 2010, Tasmanian lawyer and Principal Solicitor at the Tenant’s Union Alexander (Sandy) Duncanson died at the age of 37 after surviving cancer for sixteen years. He was widely respected for his work in the community legal and housing sectors.
Last month, the Victorian Liberal government launched an online survey about criminal sentencing through the Department of Justice. It is designed to gauge public opinion about the current approach to sentencing for a range of crimes.