Youth Justice glossary

Glossary of terms used by Youth Justice.

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An arrest involves the police stopping and then taking a person into custody. If the police have enough evidence to prove someone committed a crime, the person will then be charged. See the definition for charge.


Audio-Visual Link or video-conferencing refers to technology that lets you hear, see and talk to people at different locations. AVL can be used so that a young person in a Youth Justice Centre can communicate and/or visit with their community caseworker, lawyer, participants at court, family or significant other(s).


Background report

A background report is a report that details information that helps the court make a decision about your sentence. Your caseworker writes the report and will talk to you about what information goes into the background report. See the definition for sentence.


Bail is an agreement a person makes with the police or court so that they can stay out of custody while the offence goes through court.

Boxed visit

A boxed visit is a non-contact visit where the visitor is separated from the young person by glass. This means the young person has no physical contact with their visitor. 


Brokerage means enabling access or support. Brokerage can be used to assist family members, particularly in urgent or emergency situations, for example, paying part of an overdue electricity bill when the power is turned off. Similarly, Youth on Track Service Providers may use brokerage to facilitate a young person’s access to services that the scheme cannot provide. 


Case plan

A case plan is a document created by the young person and Youth Justice caseworker that says what the young person must do to stay out of trouble. The case plan will have actions and goals. These are things the young person can work on so that they don’t do the same thing again.  The caseworker helps the young person with the actions and goals in their case plan.


A caseworker is someone who works for Youth Justice NSW and who supports young people after they become involved with the police. Caseworkers help young people understand why they got into trouble with the law. The caseworker will make sure the young person is doing what the court said.


A caution is like a formal warning that can be given by the police or the court. A caution will be recorded by police or the court but will not go on a young person’s criminal history.


A charge is a formal allegation of criminal activity, even if guilt is not proven. The charge will state the crime, and when and where it was committed.

Child and Adolescent Intellectual Disability Screening Questionnaire

The Child and Adolescent Intellectual Disability Screening Questionnaire provides a quick, easy and accurate way of identifying children and young people who are likely to have an intellectual disability.

Children's Court

The Children’s Court NSW deals with cases involving children, including criminal cases and care and protection cases.

The Client Information Management System (CIMS)

The CIMS is an electronic system that allows Youth Justice employees to record information and monitor a young person’s progress while in custody or supervised by a community office.

Community Corrections

Community Corrections is the branch of Corrective Services which manages adult offenders on community orders.  

Community order

Community orders are a type of order served in the community and not in custody. Community orders are issued by a magistrate or judge. There are different types of community orders which include Good Behaviour Bonds, Probation, and Community Service Orders. Some community orders are supervised by Youth Justice.

Community Clean-Up Order

A Community Clean Up Order is given to a young person guilty of a graffiti offence. The court will issue the young person with a fine. The young person can pay off the fine debt at any time or participate in community clean-up work. 

The young person will have 12 months to complete the community clean-up work. Each hour of work will count as $30 off the fine debt. The young person may also be required to attend a graffiti prevention education program. 

Community Service Order

The court can order a young person to perform community service work and/or programs. The maximum number of hours that can be imposed is 100 for children under 16 years, and 250 for children 16 years and over. This is instead of being sent to a Youth Justice Centre. If the young person does not do the work or program ordered, they may be sentenced to a control order to be served in custody. See the definitions for control order and custody.


A Conference is a meeting between a young person, their victim and other people as a part of a Youth Justice Conference. The meeting is coordinated by a convenor. The young person and victim talk about the offence and how it has affected them. The participants agree on an outcome plan which sets out tasks for the young person to complete to make up for some of the harm they have caused. See the definition for Youth Justice Conference.

Conference convenor

The conference convenor organises the Youth Justice Conference. They plan the conference date, time, and place. They also meet with all the participants before the conference to explain what happens at a conference and what each participant’s role is. At the conference, the convenor guides the participants by managing the discussion, asking questions, and following a set conference structure. 


Contraband refers to items that are not allowed in a Youth Justice Centre. vehicle dock or custody area of a court.This includes, but is not limited to:

  • cameras
  • video cameras or any other type of image or voice recording devices
  • cigarettes
  • weapons, including guns and knives
  • mobile phones
  • smart watches
  • alcohol and drugs
  • syringes.

See the definition for Youth Justice Centre.

Control order

Control orders are the most serious type of order a young person can be sentenced to by a judge or magistrate. It means that the young person will spend time in custody in a Youth Justice Centre.

Court Attendance Notice (CAN)

A Court Attendance Notice is a document issued by police that sets out the charges laid against the person. It shows the date and location of the person's first court appearance.


Custody is when a person either pleads guilty or is found guilty of an offence and is sentenced to a control order, or when a young person is on remand. For people under 18, custody is served in a Youth Justice Centre. See the definition for remand.



A fine is a financial penalty imposed by the police or court for committing an offence.



Guilty is a determination by a court that a person has committed broken the law. If a person pleads guilty, they acknowledge to a court that they have broken the law.



A hearing is any formal proceeding before a court where a judge or magistrate will hear from both parties and make decisions about how a case will continue. 



A judge is a judicial officer who tends to hear more serious and complex cases than a magistrate. Where there is a jury, a judge will give instructions and explain in simple terms what is needed and happening.



A lawyer is a person who legally represents a person charged with an offence at court. They will help you understand how the law applies to your case, give you advice about your options and take instructions about what you want to do. Young people can be represented by a lawyer from the Children Legal Services (CLS), Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) or from a private law firm. 



A magistrate is a judicial officer who hears cases in a lower court, including the Children’s Court. They typically deal with cases at the first couple of hearing(s), and with matters that are less serious in nature.


A mentor is a person who guides a young person and acts as a role model. The young person gets support with practical life skills like getting a Medicare card, finding somewhere to live, or looking for work. The young person also gets to talk with their mentor about their goals, relationships and how to manage in the community.


National Security Interest

The Youth Justice NSW Executive Director, as the delegate of the Secretary of the Department of Justice, may designate a young person as a National Security Interest (NSI) under clause 7A of the Children (Detention Centres) Regulation 2015. In general, a young person may be classified as a National Security Interest if they are connected with terrorist or other activities that constitute a serious threat to the peace, order or good government of the State or any other place.

Non-parole period

The non-parole period is the time that the young person must remain in custody. 

Not guilty

Not guilty is a plea to the court or a determination by the court that a person has not broken the law.


Offence-focused programs

Offence-focused programs help prevent behaviours that could lead to an offence. They help the young person develop new skills like problem-solving. Other programs focus on cultural concepts. These programs often include elders and respected community members.

Outcome plan

At a Youth Justice Conference, the participants decide on an outcome plan. This plan sets out tasks for the young person to complete to make up for some of the harm they have caused. This can include an apology, amends for the victim, and steps to link the young person into the community, such as community programs.


Parole period

The parole period is the part of the sentence, after the period in custody, that a person serves in the community. 

The young person must be of good behaviour and not commit any further offence while on parole, or they will be returned to custody. The young person may also have additional supervision conditions they must comply with.


Probation is like a Good Behaviour Bond and can have the same types of conditions. The young person may or may not be required to be supervised by Youth Justice. 

The conditions could include things like:  

  • being of good behaviour

  • turning up to court when asked   

  • living at an agreed place  

  • going to school  

  • going to rehab or counselling  

  • not seeing co-offenders  

  • not going to specific places.



Remand or ‘on remand’ is when a person charged with an offence is detained in custody awaiting a court hearing.



A sentence is what the court says a person must do for their crime. This is sometimes called a penalty in law. A person could be sentenced to a community order, a control order, fine etc.


Served refers to how a sentence (punishment) is carried out. It may be carried out in the community or in custody.

Service provider

A service provider is a non-government organisation contracted by Youth Justice NSW to deliver programs and services on behalf of Youth Justice NSW including case management, mentoring and short-term crisis accommodation. 


Supervision refers to the situation where someone has been ordered by the court to work with and report to Youth Justice NSW.  The person may have to complete a program, perform some work, or go to school. Youth Justice supports the person while they complete the order and ensures the order is completed. 

Suspended control order

A magistrate may sentence a young offender to time in custody and then suspend the order. This means the young person will serve their sentence in the community. The court will specify conditions the young person must meet for the good behaviour bond.

If the young person breaches the bond conditions or re-offends, the matter will go back to the court. The court may then order the young person to serve the rest of their sentence in a Youth Justice Centre.



Vocation refers to employment. Vocational education is education that focuses on the skills needed for a job. For example, skills to be a plumber or carpenter.




A warning can be given by the police to a young person who has committed minor non-violent offences, except for any graffiti offences. A warning will not go on a young person’s criminal history. 


A warrant is an order issued by a judge or magistrate for a police officer or sheriff to do something. For example, an arrest warrant is issued to detain someone and bring them to court.


Young offender

A young offender is a young person that breaks the law and has been arrested by the police.

Youth Justice Centre

A Youth Justice Centre is a facility where young people under 18 are held as a punishment for a crime they have been charged with. A young person can be held on remand (when awaiting a court hearing), or when serving a control order. See the definitions for remand and control order.

Youth Justice Conference

A Youth Justice Conference is an alternative to the traditional court process, based on restorative principles, to deal with young people who have a committed an offence. Referrals can be made by the police or the court based on set criteria for certain offences under the Young Offenders Act 1997. (See the definitions for Conferenceand Conference Convenor.

Youth Koori Court

The Youth Koori Court (YKC) is a modified process within the usual Children’s Court process. It has the same powers as the Children’s Court but uses a different process to better involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, their families and the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Isander community in the court process.

Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory – Australian Adaptation (YLS/CMI-AA)

The YLS/CMI-AA is a risk/needs assessment and case management tool. The tool assesses risks and needs in the young person's life that lead to crime. It indicates the level and types of interventions needed to ensure that case planning is focused in the appropriate areas of need.

Youth on Track Screening Officer

The Youth on Track Screening Officer is located within NSW Police. They manage automatic and discretionary referrals to the Youth on Track Program. The Youth on Track Screening Officer assesses all referrals against eligibility criteria, for example, the young person must live within a Youth on Track service area. 

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