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What are supervision and detention orders

Information about the extended supervision and detention of serious sex offenders where it has been decided they pose a serious risk to the community after they have served their prison sentence.

What are supervision orders?

These orders have been established to protect the community from people who have been convicted of serious sex or violence offences. They are ordered if the court believes that the person still poses an unacceptable risk of re-offending after they have served their prison sentence.

Applications for supervision orders are commenced by the Secretary of the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) and are heard in the court that sentenced the offender. This is either the County Court or the Supreme Court.

Supervision orders impose conditions that restrict the person’s freedom of movement. Some conditions are mandatory and others are tailored to the particular facts and circumstances of the offender. For example, all people under a supervision order must not leave the state without permission. Mandatory conditions are called 'core' conditions under section 31 of the Act.

Other suggested conditions include:

  • restrictions on where the person may live. If there is no other suitable accommodation the person may be ordered to live in a residential facility (Corella Place is a specialist residential community for sex offenders)
  • imposing a curfew by stating the hours when they must stay at home and restrictions on the kinds of people that they can have contact with
  • compelling the person to participate in rehabilitation and treatment.

See ss. 31, 32, 34, 35, —Serious Offenders Act 2018 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Renewal of orders

The orders may last up to 15 years. The length is specified on the court order. The secretary of DJCS can apply for a supervision order to be renewed any time before the expiry of the current order. This process of renewal could go on indefinitely provided that the court is satisfied that the person is an unacceptable risk to the community.

See ss. 19, 21, 22—Serious Offenders Act 2018 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Penalty for breach

If the person breaches one of the conditions of the orders they may be charged with an offence. The maximum penalty is 5 years jail.

See s. 169—Serious Offenders Act 2018 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Note: If there is insufficient evidence for a supervision order to be made the Chief of Police may apply for a prohibition order instead.

What are detention orders?

Detention orders are commenced by the Department of Public Prosecutions on the recommendation of the Secretary of the Department of Justice and Community Safety. The matters are heard in the Supreme Court. Although the Secretary commences the application, a private firm generally has conduct of the matter. An assessment report must be filed with the application.

Before making the order the court must believe that the person would be an unacceptable risk to the community if they were placed on a supervision order. The likelihood that the offender poses an unacceptable risk may be 'less than more likely than not'.

The test has 2 parts. Before making the order the court must be satisfied by acceptable cogent evidence to a high degree of probability that:

  • the person would be an unacceptable risk to the community of committing a serious sex or serious violence offence, and
  • detention is the only option (that is, the risk would not be mitigated by making a supervision order instead).

When assessing whether there is an unacceptable risk, the court must consider any assessment or progress report filed with the application. The DPP has the burden of providing that the offender poses an unacceptable risk.

If a detention order is made the person must be detained in prison for up to 3 years. If possible, the person is housed in a separate part of the prison.

A person on a detention order is managed by the Post Sentencing Authority.

See ss. 61, 62, 63, 64—Serious Offenders Act 2018 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Renewal of orders

The orders may only be renewed every 3 years and this process of renewal could go on indefinitely provided that the court is satisfied that the person is an unacceptable risk to the community.

See ss. 69, 70, 71—Serious Offenders Act 2018 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Detention orders and human rights

Applications for detention orders often raise questions about the applicability of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006. However, where the charter is raised, the Attorney-General has the power to intervene, that is to become involved in the case.

More information

Legislation

Serious Offenders Act 2018 (Vic)

  • s. 12—court where applications are commenced
  • s. 13—application for a supervision order
  • s. 19—length of supervision order
  • s. 21—expiry of supervision order
  • s. 22—application for renewal of supervision order
  • s. 31—core conditions of supervision orders
  • s. 32—intensive treatment and supervision condition
  • s. 34—other conditions relating to residence
  • s. 35—suggested conditions
  • s. 61—application for a detention order
  • s. 62—determination of application for detention order
  • s. 63—finding an unacceptable risk
  • s. 64—detention order only option
  • s. 69—detention order can last up to 3 years
  • s. 70—expiry of detention order
  • s. 71—renewal of detention order
  • s. 169—offence to contravene a supervision order or interim supervision order

See Serious Offenders Act 2018 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic)

See Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Updated