Recently Victoria’s Attorney-General, Robert Clark, and Community Services Minister, Mary Wooldridge, launched a discussion paper on youth diversion which called for an expansion of diversion programs for juveniles who commit offences.

The Coalition has said that they will still push ahead with minimum two-year sentences for young offenders guilty of intentionally or recklessly causing serious injury.

Robert Clark said “When a violent thug inflicts premeditated gross violence on innocent victims, the community needs to be protected.”

 Michael Holcroft, president of the Law Institute of Victoria, described mandatory minimum sentences as “appalling”.

Judge Paul Grant, Children’s Court President, stated there is “no simple connection between ‘locking them up’ and stopping offending behaviour”.

Bernie Geary, Child Safety Commissioner, warned that a “one size fits all” approach is not appropriate for teenagers.

Mary Wooldridge confirmed that legislation for minimum sentences for adults would proceed this year, but not the youth part.

Robert Clark, said ”Let me make it clear that youth diversion is aimed at the lower end of the spectrum of offending … The government has not changed its position in relation to gross violence offences and statutory minimums, both for adult offenders and for juvenile offenders.”

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