Irish Penal Reform Trust

Children Held on Remand in Victoria: A Report on Sentencing Outcomes

2nd October 2020

The Sentencing Advisory Council (Australia) has released a report examining case outcomes for children held on remand in Victoria, Australia from 2017 to 2018. It reports on the demographics and criminal history of children held on remand, the offences remanded children were charged with and the outcome of their cases. It considers the relationship between remand and sentencing, and identifies the proportion of remanded children who did not go on to receive a custodial sentence for their offending.

During the period of the study (2017-2018) two-thirds of remanded children ultimately did not receive a custodial sentence. At present in Victoria, remanded children make up approximately 47% of all children in detention; this report revealed that 442 children spent at least one day on remand in Victoria from 2017-2018.

Key findings of the report:

  • 66% of the 442 remanded children did not receive a custodial sentence, with 58% awarded community orders and 8% awarded court-ordered diversion or nothing at all, with all charges being dropped.
  • Only the remaining 34% of remanded children received a custodial sentence, with 29% required the child to spend more time in detention after they were sentenced, while 5% were ‘time served’ sentences.
  • 89% were male, but remanded female children tended to be younger, with 30% of remanded female children were aged 14 and under compared with 15% of male children
  • Children from culturally and linguistically diverse communities were also over-represented, comprising 43% of remanded children%, while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children accounted for 15% of those remanded.
  • Overall, the 442 children spent nearly 29,000 days on remand, costing approximately $40 million.

The report makes a number of suggested strategies on how to reduce the risk of children entering remand, such as a 24-hour bail system specifically for children and an expansion of the specialised Children’s Court and continuing to ensure that specialist services and programs are designed both with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Read Children Held on Remand in Victoria: A Report on Sentencing Outcomes in full here.

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