Youth Justice Act 1992

The Youth Justice Act 1992 commenced operation on 1 September 1993 (as the Juvenile Justice Act 1992). Major amendments have occurred in 1996, 2002, 2010, 2016 and 2019. The most significant change in 2016 was to include 17-year-olds within the jurisdiction of the Act.

The Act provides laws for young people aged 10 to 17 years old who commit, or who are alleged to have committed, offences.

It provides a code for dealing with young people who come in contact with the youth justice system including:

  • procedures for police to respond to young people
  • diversionary options such as cautioning and restorative justice conferencing
  • outlining how courts deal with young people
  • a range of sentencing options
  • the operation of youth detention centres
  • recognising the importance of families and communities in the rehabilitation and reintegration of young people, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • establishing the Youth Justice Principles.

The Act has a wide range of options to address offending. These options attempt to address the wide spectrum of offending that can occur, ranging from minor, one-off offending (which represents the majority of offending) to serious, persistent offending.

Legislation that interacts with the Youth Justice Act 1992 includes:

Community Services Act 2007

The Community Services Act 2007 is also relevant to the youth justice system. It governs the administration of government funding to organisations, if a declaration is made for it to apply.

Youth justice funding is declared to apply to a range of programs and services for young offenders and their families. The Community Services Act 2007 applies to the following funded programs:

  • young offender support services
  • specialist counselling services
  • bail support services.

Other legislation