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Alternatives in relation to arrest, court and sentencing

In certain circumstances, alternatives to arrest and/or court may be used in the justice system depending on the offence and the offender. Alternative sentencing programs may also be appropriate for certain crimes and/or offenders.

Alternatives to arrest

Court Attendance Notice (CAN)

Is a document that tells a person to attend court to answer a charge, in response to a claim against them, or in response to an application for an order against them.

Criminal Infringement Notice (CIN)

Is a document for certain criminal offences, such as Offensive Behaviour or Obtain Benefit by Deception. It is an on-the-spot fine which must be paid within 21 days.

Alternatives for young offenders


Can be given to a young offender by a police officer for some minor offence such as swearing, which has no related violence.

Cautions (and victim statements of harm)

Offences that a caution can be used for include stealing or damage to property.

A young person can only be cautioned if he or she admits the offence after being given the opportunity to get legal advice and if they agree to be cautioned.

Cautions may involve a written apology by the young offender to the victim.

Statements of Harm may be made by victims of crime where the offender is a youth or child who has received a caution from the police or a magistrate.

Youth Justice Conferencing

At a Youth Justice Conference a young offender, with his or her family, is brought face-to-face with the victim, and those supporting the victim, to hear about the harm caused and to take responsibility for their actions. Find out more on the Juvenile Justice website.

If you would like to know more about youth justice conferencing, go to the Juvenile Justice website.

Local Court diversion programs and alternative sentencing programs

Once a case does come to consideration by a magistrate, a diversion or alternative sentencing program may be appropriate depending on the circumstances of the defendant and the nature of the offence. The Forum Sentencing and Circle Sentencing programs allow victims to participate in the sentencing process if they want to. For more information see the Local Courts website which link to Diversion Programs.