If you are or someone you know is under 18 years of age and has been charged with a minor drug offence, there’s a way to avoid court proceedings. Under the Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW), youth diversion programs can be granted to eligible individuals.
Eligibility for Youth Diversion Programs:
Under the law, young people under 18 years of age who have committed minor drug offences may be eligible for pre-court diversion options. The discretion to grant diversion lies with police and youth justice officials.
Formal Police Warning
A formal police warning is a verbal warning given by a police officer to a young person who has committed a minor drug offence.
The purpose of the warning is to educate the young person about the risks and consequences of drug use, as well as to deter them from future criminal activity.
A caution is a formal warning that a young person gets who admits to committing a minor drug offence.
The caution goes on the young person’s criminal record, but it does not result in a conviction. The purpose of the caution is to provide an opportunity for the young person to take responsibility for their actions and avoid the criminal justice system.
A youth justice conference is a formal meeting between youth justice officials, the young person, and anyone impacted by their offending. The conference aims to repair harm caused by the offence and prevent further offending. The outcome of the conference may involve a plan for the young person to undertake drug education or counselling. It may also make reparations to the victim or the community.
Benefits of Youth Diversion Programs:
Youth diversion programs offer several benefits to young people who have committed minor drug offences. They provide an opportunity for the young person to avoid the stigma and consequences of a criminal record, and to address any underlying issues that may have contributed to their offending. Youth diversion programs also aim to prevent further offending and promote rehabilitation.
For any inquiries or concerns, contact us today on 02 9261 4281
If you are a parent or guardian of an under-age child who police charge with an offence in the Children’s Court, contact us. We can help your child get a second chance in the youth justice system.