Requirements of youth control orders including reporting and monitoring

Requirements of youth control orders including reporting and monitoring

This content is intended as information for lawyers appearing in the Children’s Court with clients who may be placed on a youth control order (YCO). If you are not a lawyer but have been referred to a youth control order planning meeting, you should contact your lawyer, youth justice worker or Children’s Court planning meeting convenor with any questions you may have.

Duration

Under s. 409B(1), a YCO is to last no longer than 12 months and must not extend beyond the twenty-first birthday: ss. (2).

Conditions (requirements) of YCOs

Section 409F sets out the core 'requirements' of the YCO:

  • not to reoffend during the order, whether in Victoria or elsewhere
  • to report to the secretary within two working days of the making of the order (as with other orders involving supervision, it may be common for this requirement to be met by meeting with the worker at court immediately after the making of the order)
  • report to the secretary as required during the period of the order
  • comply with lawful and reasonable directions
  • attend court as directed by the court
  • participate in education, training or work
  • notify the secretary of any change of residence, school or employment within two working days
  • not to leave Victoria without permission of the secretary.

It also sets out the category of 'additional requirements' (which may become known as 'conditions'), having regard to the YCO plan and the child's personal circumstances:

  • participation in one or more community service activities
  • treatment for drug or alcohol dependence
  • counselling or treatment service of any kind
  • specified residence
  • curfew
  • non-contact provisions
  • participation in a group conference
  • culturally specific programs and services
  • prohibition of use of specified social media if required for the protection of the community
  • prohibition of visiting places or areas totally or at specified times
  • participation in disability services if a pre-sentence report indicates that the child has a registerable intellectual disability
  • any other requirement that the court considers appropriate.

The court will be required to consider principles of proportionality and the objects of a YCO in deciding on the attachment of requirements to an order: s. 409(3).

Parental undertakings

A parent may be ordered to give an undertaking to the court under s. 409G, but under s. 409H the court must not take any action if there is a breach of the undertaking.

Concurrency or cumulativity

A child may be placed on concurrent orders but the aggregate period of YCOs must not exceed 12 months: s. 409I(1)(a).

If the young person is sentenced to both detention in a youth justice centre and YCO then the aggregate must not exceed four years: s. 409I(1)(b). If the child is sentenced to both detention in a youth residential centre and YCO then the aggregate must not exceed two years: s. 409I(4).

Note: there has been some doubt thrown on whether a magistrate could or should order a combined detention-YCO sentence. There is no structure around whether a post-detention YCO would commence upon a person being released on parole (or for those on sentences of six months or less, on release after remissions) or on the expiry of the order. This lack of clarity means that a combined order does not make sense. This is a provision that might be subject to future amendment.

The court may order that a new YCO be served either concurrently with another YCO or wholly cumulatively: ss. (3).

In cases where the child is in custody, whether at the time of making the YCO or afterwards, the Secretary may suspend the YCO by giving notice under s. 409M. It may be possible for the YCO to be served concurrently with parole under ss. (4).

Reporting, monitoring and variation

After an initial YCO planning meeting and the making of the YCO the court will retain supervisory jurisdiction through s. 409L:

  • the court may direct attendance to consider compliance with the order and the ongoing suitability of the requirements (conditions) of the order
  • for the first half of the order attendance must be at least monthly (but there have been suggestions that YJ could recommend more frequent attendance in some cases, esepcially as experience with the order develops
  • the secretary must provide a report about compliance before each attendance
  • a copy of the report must be given to the child and legal practitioner at least three working days before the attendance
  • the court must consider whether the order should be varied each time the child attends
  • the court must be constituted by the original magistrate unless they are no longer a magistrate, or the matter was remitted from another court (ie the County Court or Supreme Court).

Consistency is considered to be important in multi-disciplinary court processes so continuity of representation (maintaining the same lawyer throughout) will be even more important than usual.

At each attendance, the court may give a warning to the child about possible variation of the order if the child is failing to comply with the requirements of the order: 3. 409O.

However, it is not necessary for the court to give a warning: s. 409P(b).

There will be a new s. 409N which will deal with variation:

  • the court may vary an order if it considers this appropriate based on an assessment of compliance having regard to reports and discussions at attendances at court
  • variations may be made on the court's own initiative or after a written or oral application by the child, the child's parent (if the child is under 15) or the secretary
  • if the child's compliance has been unsatisfactory the court may vary the YCO to make it more restrictive
  • if the child's compliance has been satisfactory, or if it has been unsatisfactory but compliance would be made easier, the variation may be to make it less restrictive.

Variations may be made without the consent of the child: s. 409P(a).

More information

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