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Who is a child?

If child has been accused of an offence

In the Criminal Division of the Children’s Court a child is defined as anyone who is aged between 10 and under the age of 18 years old at the time that an offence is alleged to have happened.

A person can not be over the age of 19 years when a court procedure begins.

When a court procedure begins

A court procedure begins when a matter is first listed with the registrar of the Children’s Court.

For an infringement notice the matter starts when the infringement is lodged with the infringement registrar or the CAYPINS registrar.

A child under 10 years old is not considered to be old enough to be held responsible for their wrong doing. This is sometimes referred to using the Latin term: doli incapax.

Where child is subject to a protection order

A protection order or interim protection order continues to be in force until the child is 18 years old.

Family violence or stalking

A child is defined as a person who is under 18 years old at the time that an application is made.

More information


Children Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic)

  • s. 3—definition of a 'child'
  • s. 344—presumption that a child under 10 cannot commit an offence

See Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Infringements Act 2006 (Vic)

  • s. 3—definition of child

See Infringements Act 2006 (Vic)(opens in a new window).