The Juvenile Court, established under section 93 of the Children Act is the court of law responsible for the trial and supervision of children under the age of 18 years.
Until 2019, these cases were administered by the Victoria Magistrates’ Court and was chaired by a magistrate sitting with at least two persons. These cases have been reallocated to the Supreme Court criminal division during 2019 and are being taken by one of two Supreme Court Judges sitting with the appointed members.
Methods of dealing with children charged with any offence, if the Juvenile Court is satisfied by his/her guilt, include making a probation order under the probation of Offenders Act, committing him/her to the care of a relative or other person, ordering him/her to pay a fine, ordering his parents or guardians to pay a fine and sentencing him to imprisonment if he is a young person convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment.
There are however restrictions on imprisonment. The law under Section 94(1) states “notwithstanding any other written law, no child under 14 years of age shall be sentenced to imprisonment and “ no young person shall be sentenced to imprisonment if he can be suitably dealt with in any other way provided for under this Act.