Alternatives to Court

Alternatives to Court

Provided under the Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW) – Police must consider giving the offender a warning, caution or instruct then to attend a conference.


· The Young Offenders Act allows police to issue on-the-spot warnings to young people for minor breaches of the law

· The child’s name is recorded but does not form criminal history


· A formal record that a child has breached the law

· Used for more serious offences.

· Only issued if the offender has admitted to the offence. Cautions are quicker and easier to administer than a formal charge and take up less court time.

Youth Justice Conferences

· The aim of such conference is to come up with an agreement which may include an apology and/or reparation to the victim

· These are used if an offender has committed a crime that warrants a more serious penalty

· Present at the conference are the offender, a parent or guardian, the victim, a supporter for the victim, and a mediator

· If the child does not fulfil the agreement, then court proceedings may be commenced

Youth Drug and Alcohol Court

· Established under the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW), and is similar to the Drug Court, except it is for young offenders.

· Allows young offenders the opportunity to rehabilitate prior to sentencing.

Intensive program units and mentor programs

· These options are often imposed as a condition of probation or early release.

· Intensive program units provide counselling to serious offenders, or to those with psychological problems.

· They provide these offenders with a trained older person to assist in their rehabilitation and avoid recidivism

· Placing offenders in special programs to develop employment skills or modify behaviour.


Extract from Legal Studies Stage 6 Syllabus. © 2009 Board of Studies NSW.