Post-sentence detention and supervision order scheme changes

Post-sentence detention and supervision order scheme changes

Friday, 14 September 2018

Background

The Serious Offenders Act 2018 ('The Act') commenced on 3 September 2018. It repealed, replaced and significantly expanded on the Serious Sex Offender (Detention and Supervision Order) Act 2009 which has operated as Victoria’s post-sentence detention and supervision order scheme for serious sex offenders for just under a decade. 

The Act incorporates the recommendations of the Harper Review which examined the scheme in 2015. Community protection is the primary purpose of the regime and it does so by placing strict limitations on the liberty of people – all whom have served their sentence. Accordingly, it is important for practitioners to understand this regime and the new changes. 

What are the changes

New Serious Violent Offender Scheme

The most significant change introduced by the Act – which incorporates the two preceding interim pieces of legislation introduced in 2016 and early 2018 – is to expand eligibility to include serious violent offenders. This includes 11 serious violent offences such as murder and manslaughter.

Supreme Court hearings

The practical consequence for practitioners is that there will be supervision order applications (and the corresponding breach, review and renewal hearings) heard in the Supreme Court where under the old Act this was largely the domain of the County Court. Procedurally, the application process will remain largely the same though it is fair to expect that the serious violent offender cohort will be much different to the serious sex offender cohort so it is unclear how it will operate in practice e.g. risk assessments, breach rates etc).

Emergency detention orders

The Act also introduces emergency detention orders, which allows the secretary to apply to the Supreme Court to detain a supervised offender in custody for up to seven days in order to contain their escalating and imminent risk to the community until different supervision arrangements or an application for a detention order can be made. It also introduces the Post Sentence Authority, an agency created to take over the management function of supervised offenders from the Adult Parole Board. Additionally it introduces the creation of a secure residential treatment facility, Rivergum, which is currently being built next to Hopkins Correctional Facility and designed to provide intensive treatment and supervision in a secure environment. 

Guideline and fee changes

  1. Guideline name change – ATLAS and Guideline 10 will be changed to reflect that the scheme is governed by the Serious Offenders Act 2018.
  2. Change to simplified grants process – Significantly, applications for aid will now fall under the simplified grants process and will not require assessment by Assignments. The exception will be for special disbursements like expert reports and for applications to review conditions which will still be considered by Assignments.
  3. Emergency detention orders  Guideline 10 will include funding for Emergency Detention Orders and Table Z has been amended to include a fee to accommodate this hearing - –comparable to a Supreme Court bail application fee.
  4. Offender Application to Review SO - In order to ensure that orders under the new Act are proportionate and lawful, Guideline 10 has been extended to allow for an offender subject to an order under the new Act to make an application to review conditions.
  5. Supervision and detention order matters in the Supreme Court – given the new scheme will result in more applications in the Supreme Court fees have been updated to reflect the work involved with these orders in that jurisdiction.
  6. The County Court breach proceedings guideline will be updated to reflect the new legislation and to include breach proceedings in the Supreme Court.

More information

Training was provided on Monday 27 August 2018. If you would like a copy of the recording and presentation materials, or more information on the changes, please email ple@vla.vic.gov.au

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