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Young offenders

The youth justice system in South Australia is regulated by the following pieces of legislation:

These Acts are companion pieces of legislation which means that they are to be read together and understood as if they form a single Act [see Youth Justice Administration Act 2016 (SA) s 5].

The object of the Young Offenders Act 1993 (SA) is to secure for youths who offend against the criminal law the care, correction and guidance necessary for their development into responsible and useful members of the community and the proper realisation of their potential [see Young Offenders Act 1993 (SA) s 3].

The Youth Justice Administration Act 2016 (SA) regulates the administration and oversight of youth training centres and other facilities relating to young offenders. The object of this Act is to provide for the 'safe, humane and secure management of youths held in training centres' in South Australia [Youth Justice Administration Act 2016 (SA) s 3].

A youth for the purposes of both Acts is a child between the ages of 10 and 18 [see Young Offenders Act 1993 (SA) s 4 and Youth Justice Administation Act 2016 (SA) s 3].

Section 3 of the Young Offenders Act 1993 (SA) sets out the importance of the following:

  • that the youth be made aware of his or her obligations under the law and of the consequences of a breach of the law; and
  • that the community be adequately protected against wrongful acts.

As far as the circumstances allow, in dealing with a youth under the Young Offenders Act 1993 (SA):

  • victims should be awarded compensation and restitution where appropriate (in particular where victims suffer loss or damage);
  • consideration should be given to preserving and strengthening the youth's family relationships;
  • there should be no unnecessary interruption of the youth's education or employment; and
  • the youth's sense of racial, ethnic or cultural identity should not be impaired.
Young offenders  :  Last Revised: Mon Jul 16th 2018
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.