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Youth Justice Act 1992 – 23 September 2016

Youth Justice Regulation 2016 – 26 August 2016

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A police officer, before arresting a child for an offence other than a serious offence, must first consider whether in all the circumstances it would be more appropriate to take other action e.g. take no action, administer a caution, refer the offence to a restorative justice process (for conference agreement, alternative diversion process), etc. Note: A caution is not part of a child’s criminal history. A child is generally defined as someone under 17 years of age. For the definition of ‘restorative justice process’, refer to Schedule 4 of the Act.

  • Sections 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24A, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 147, Schedule 4

A charge against a child brought before the Children’s Court may be dismissed if an application for dismissal is made by or on behalf of the child and the court is satisfied that the child should have been cautioned instead of being charged or no action should have been taken against the child.

  • Section 21

In a proceeding for an indictable offence, a court must generally not admit into evidence against the defendant a statement made or given to a police officer by the defendant when a child, unless the court is satisfied a support person was present with the child at the time and place the statement was made or given.

  • Section 29

Children in custody are to be generally released into the community unless there is an unacceptable risk that the child will reoffend, not surrender into custody, etc.

  • Sections 47, 48, 52, 55, 59

The Childrens Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine a charge against a child for an offence.

  • Sections 4, 8, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 76, 77, 78, 81, 82, 85, 87, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 97, 99, 100, 101, 105, 106, 140, 141, 142, 144, 149, Schedule 4

If a child appears before a court charged with an indictable offence but is not represented by a lawyer, the court may proceed with a hearing and determination only if it is satisfied that the child: (a) has had reasonable opportunity to obtain representation by a lawyer; and (b) has decided not to be represented by a lawyer.

  • Section 79

A child against whom a finding or order was made may apply on limited grounds to the court within 28 days of the finding/order for the court to reopen proceedings. An application may be made if the finding/order was not valid at law or the finding/order was decided on a clear factual error of substance.

  • Sections 127, 128

In a proceeding against an adult for an offence, there must not be admitted against the adult evidence that the adult was found guilty as a child of an offence if a conviction was not recorded.

  • Section 148

When a child is sentenced for an offence, the court must have regard to the sentencing principles set out in section 150 of the Act. One of the principles to be considered is the youth justice principles set out in Schedule 1 of this Act. In sentencing a child for an offence, a court may receive any information, or a sentencing submission made by a party to the proceedings, it considers appropriate to enable it to impose the proper sentence or make a proper order in connection with the sentence.

  • Sections 3, 150, Schedule 1

Findings of guilt against a child by a court for an offence is part of the criminal history of the child to which regard may be had by a court that subsequently sentences the child for any offence as a child. Note: This provision does not apply to a finding of guilt against a child by a court for an offence if the offence was referred for a restorative justice process and a restorative justice agreement was made as a
consequence of the referral. For the definition of ‘restorative justice agreement’, refer to Schedule 4 of the Act.

  • Sections 4, 154, Schedule 4

A court that sentences a child for an offence must disregard a requirement under any other Act that an amount of money or term of imprisonment must be the minimum penalty for the offence.

  • Section 155

If a child enters a plea of guilty for an offence in a proceeding before a court, the court must consider referring the offence to the chief executive for a restorative justice process instead of sentencing the child. If a finding of guilt for an offence is made against a child before a court, the court must consider referring the offence to the chief executive for a restorative justice process to help the court make an appropriate sentence order. Section 163 of the Act sets out when the court may refer a child to the restorative justice process.

  • Sections 162, 163

A court may impose various sentences on a child found guilty of an offence including: reprimand, good behaviour, fine (where the child has capacity to pay), probation (where the child is willing to comply), restorative justice agreement (where the child is willing to comply), restorative justice process (where the child is willing to comply), community service (where the child is willing to comply), intensive supervision in the community (where the child is willing to comply), detention, conditional release from detention (where the child is willing to comply), graffiti removal, restitution (where the child has capacity to pay),  and compensation (where the child has capacity to pay). Note: A recording of a conviction with a sentence may be strictly required or strictly mandated not to occur.

  • Sections 4, 165, 167, 172, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 183, 188, 190, 191, 192A, 192B, 192D, 193, 194, 194A, 194B, 195, 196, 203, 204, 207, 208, 219, 220, 221, 222, 234, 235, 276B, 276C, 276D, 276E, 276F, Schedule 4; Regulation 8

In deciding whether or not to record a conviction, the court is to have regard to the considerations set out in section 184 of the Act.

  • Sections 183, 184

A child who is sentenced to serve a period of detention must generally serve the period of detention in a detention centre.

  • Section 210

A child sentenced to serve a period of detention must generally be released from detention after serving 70% of the period of detention.

  • Sections 227, 228, 232

A parent of a child may be ordered to pay compensation where their child commits an offence and they may have contributed to the offence occurring by not adequately supervising their child.

  • Sections 258, 259

A child who is admitted to a detention centre is to receive a document containing: the detention centre rules and information on how a complaint may be made (among other matters).

  • Section 267; Regulations 13, 15

The government may grant a child in detention a leave of absence for the purposes of employment, education, visiting family, etc.

  • Section 269

A lawyer representing a child held in a detention centre is entitled to access to the child at all reasonable times.

  • Section 276

A child or parent of a child detained in a detention centre may complain about a matter that affects the child.

  • Section 277

Where a child is being held in custody on being arrested for an offence or on an order made under this Act, a parent may make a request to the government that they be informed of the child’s whereabouts.

  • Section 305

A child detained in a detention centre has the right to make and receive telephone calls at all reasonable times.

  • Regulation 29

A child detained in a detention centre has the right to send and receive letters and other mail.

  • Regulation 30
Reason for law

To establish a code for dealing with children who have, or are alleged to have, committed offences. (Section 2)

Relevant links

Sentencing, prisons and probation [Queensland Government]

Youth Justice [Queensland Government]

Youth detention policies

Justice Mediation

Forms [Queensland Courts]

Queensland Judgments: Childrens Court [Queensland Courts]

Court Diversion Program [Queensland Courts]/ Court Innovation Program contacts [Queensland Courts]

For Legal Practitioners: Queensland Sentencing Information Service [Supreme Court of Queensland Library]

Sentencing Remarks [Supreme Court of Queensland Library]

Youth and family support service referral

Youth Advocacy Centre

Reach.Out.Com – For Professionals

National Children’s and Youth Law Centre

YMCA Australia

Brisbane Youth Service

Relationships Australia Queensland

Life Without Barriers

Highlighted practice direction

2017/01 – Sentence proceedings

2016/02 – Queensland Murri Court

2001/03 – District Court:Criminal Jurisdiction Submissions by representatives of Community Justice Groups in the sentencing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons

2014/1A – Youth Justice Notice2014/01 – Conduct of Youth Justice matters

Media article

Rethinking youth justice: there are alternatives to juvenile detention

Iceland knows how to stop teen substance abuse – but the rest of the world isn’t listening

Media Statement

Restoring fair and effective youth justice [Queensland Government]


Section 5: notes forming part of an Act is not common for Acts of Parliament.

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PLEASE NOTE: The information published on this webpage may be out-of-date. Please compare the currency date of the Act/Regulation against that published on the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website. If you require access to Commonwealth statute law, please visit the ComLaw website. If you require access to the local council laws (by-laws), please visit the Local laws database.

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