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What is diversion?

The diversion program gives an opportunity for first time offenders to avoid a criminal record by undertaking conditions that benefit the offender, victim and the community. Diversion is available in all Magistrates' courts in Victoria.

If the court orders diversion the offender will have to undertake the requirements set out in the diversion plan. If successful the diversion order will proceeded and the offender will avoid a criminal record. If the offender does not complete the diversion plan, their matter may be sent back into the mainstream criminal justice process.

See s. 59—Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic).

Starting the diversion process

The police informant begins the diversion process by recommending a person for diversion. The informant will need to get authorisation from a sergeant at their station to issue a diversion notice. Police have complete discretion about this.

To begin the diversion process, the informant may send a diversion notice to the accused person at the same time as their charge and summons. This means that they have already agreed to the matter proceeding to a diversion hearing.

If the informant does not send a diversion notice the person will have to organise the request themselves. They can write to the informant before their court date asking for a diversion recommendation. If they don't organise a diversion recommendation before their court date the person will have to ask the magistrate to adjourn their matter so that they can ask for a diversion recommendation from the police.

If police make a diversion recommendation the court may order a person to go on a diversion plan.

More information

Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic)

  • s. 59—diversion

See Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic).

Reference

Magistrates' Court

See Magistrates' Court—Diversion.

VLA website

The 'Find legal answers' part of the VLA website has information about diversion.

See Diversion programs.

Updated