Community Sanctions include any one or more of the following:
- a Community Service Order;
- a Day Centre Order;
- a Probation Order;
- a Training or Activities Order;
- a Probation Intensive Supervision Order;
- a Probation Residential Supervision Order;
- a Suitable Person (care and supervision) Order;
- a Mentor (family support) Order;
- a Restriction of Movement Order;
- a Dual Order.
Where a Court has considered a Probation Officer’s report or other report made pursuant to the Children Act and has heard evidence of any person that have requested to attend including the Probation Officer and have given the child’s parent or guardian if married, his or her spouse, if present in court and if not so present, an adult relative or other adult accompanying the child, an opportunity to give evidence, it may make an order imposing on the child a community sanction, if it considers that the imposition of such a sanction would be the most suitable way of dealing with the case.
Where the court intends to impose a community sanction, it shall explain to the child in open Court and in a language appropriate to his level of understanding,
- why the sanction is being imposed;
- the terms of the sanction and any conditions to which it is subject;
- the expectation that the child will be of good conduct while the sanction is in force and possible consequences of failure to comply; and
- the expectation of the Court that the child’s parents or guardians, where appropriate, will help and encourage the child to comply with the sanction and any conditions and will not commit further offences.
In any case where the Court has explained to the child the matters above and the child does not express his willingness to comply, the Court may, instead of imposing a sanction, deal with the case in any other manner in which it may be dealt with.
Where a child fails to comply with a community sanction or any conditions to which it is subject or if the community sanction is revoked by the Court, the Court shall not make an order imposing a period of detention unless it is satisfied that detention is the only suitable way of dealing with the child.
Conditions which may be attached to a community sanction may include the following:
- requiring the child to attend school regularly,
- relating to the child’s employment,
- aimed at preventing the child from committing further offences,
- relating to the child’s place of residence,
- relating to the child undergoing counselling or medical treatment,
- limiting or prohibiting the child from associating with specified person or with persons of any specified class,
- limiting the child’s attendance at specified premises,
- prohibiting the consumption by the child of intoxicating liquor,
- in relation to such matters as the Court considers appropriate in relation to the child.
A Community Service Order may be appropriate for a child over 16 years of age. A specified number of hours of community service is to be completed in lieu of a specified custodial sentence. It allows a period, maximum of 240 hours of community service in any 12 month period.
The Court must be satisfied that the child is willing, fit and able to complete the Community Service Order and that there is suitable work available to the child. The Court may consider the order when it community service report is presented, proposing the sanction and the child is at risk of being given a period of detention and agrees to work with the Probation Service and complete a Community Service Order.
The Court sends certified copies of the Order made and furnishes them to Probation Officer in question and parents or guardian of the child. If the child fails to comply with the order, the Probation Service will return the case to Court for consideration. The Court may revoke the order or deal with it in another manner.
A Day Centres Order is an order with the additional requirement that the child attend a specified day centre for the purpose of participation in an occupational activity or receiving instruction that is suitable for the child’s development and beneficial to the child. The Order may be for up to six months.
The Court must be satisfied the day centre is accessible to the child and that he or she would benefit from the Programme. The Programme must agree to accept the child. Attendance at the day centre must not interfere with any training, education or employment the child is receiving, as far as practicable. The Order may be appropriate where
- the child is at the moderate to high end of the risk of reoffending and other lower tariff community sanctions have been unsuccessful.
- when a Probation Report presented to the Court proposes this community sanction,
- there is a suitable day centre available and
- the child agrees to attend the day centre.
The first step is a Probation Report to include an assessment for a Day Centre Order. The Report is presented to Court outlining the child’s suitability for this sanction. This includes a detailed personalised plan, a proposed number of days, and outlines whether the child is prepared to consent.
A Day Care Centre Order is made by the Court, which is to state the name and address of the centre, the number of days the child shall attend the centre and the period of time during which attendance at the centre is required. It will set out when the child is to report to the centre on the first occasion and other conditions, such as programmes of activities to be undertaken.
The Courts is to send certified copies of the Orders to the person in charge of the day centre and the Probation Officer supervising the child, together with the parents or guardian.
An application may be made to vary the Day Care Centre Order by the child’s parents or guardian or probation officer. The Court may make the variation if it is satisfied that it is in the interest of justice to do so.
The Children’s Court on application by the child, parent or Probation Officer may revoke the order if it is appropriate so to do. The Court may then deal with the child in another way, having regard to the extent to which the child has complied with the Order.
Where the child does not comply with the Order or its conditions, the court
- may direct the child to comply with the Order or any conditions insofar it has not been complied with,
- revoke the Order and substitute another Day Care Centre Order or another community sanction or
- revoke the order then deal with the case in some other way with which it could have been dealt with if the Order was not made.
Alternatively, if the order was made by another Court, it may remand the child on bail to a sitting to be held for that purpose. Account shall be taken of the extent to which the child has complied with the Day Centre Order and the conditions attached to it.
A child in respect of whom a Day Centre Order has been made shall be subject to the reasonable control, direction and supervision of the person in charge of the day centre or a person authorised on that behalf by that person while the child is attending the centre or participating in any occupation or activity or receiving any instruction under supervision outside the centre or travelling between the centre and a place outside the centre at which the child is directed or permitted to be.
A child shall while attending at the day centre participate in such occupation or activities whether physical or otherwise and attend such classes or groups of persons or receive such instruction, whether inside or outside the centre as the person in charge, person authorised considers to be in the interest of the child, having regard where appropriate to the directions of the Court.
A Probation Supervision Order may be made for up to three years. Conditions will be specific to the child and will address offending behaviour, taking account of the child’s age and maturity. The Court must be satisfied that the conditions imposed are suitable for the child’s and that the child would benefit from the probation supervision. The Order might be considered where the probation report proposes the sanction, child is at the risk of reoffending and the child agrees to work with the Probation Service.
The Courts requests the probation report to include an assessment of a Probation Supervision Order. The report is presented to the Court outlining the child’s suitability for the sanction. This is to include details of the proposed conditions and outline if the child consents. If the Court makes an Order, copies are sent to the child, guardian, and Probation Officer.
The Probation Training or Activities Program Order is a community sanction of a probation order with additional requirement providing for a specified program of training or activities that are suitable for the child’s development and will help the child to avoid further offending. The Court must be satisfied the programme is accessible to the child, that child will benefit, and the programme agrees to accept the child.
The Order might be appropriate where a probation report so proposes to the Court, the child is at the lower to moderate end of the risk of reoffending scale, there is a suitable programme of activity or training available to the child and the child agrees to complete the training or activities programme.
The process commences with the Court requesting a probation report to include an assessment for a Training or Activities Programme Order. The report is presented to the Court outlining the child’s suitability, details of the activities available, training and programme of activities available and the commencement date and confirmation of whether the child consents.
The Order is made by the Court and copies are served on the person in charge of the programme, Probation Officers supervising the child, and parents and guardians. If the child fails to comply, the matter is returned to Court.
A Probation (Intensive Supervision)
A Probation (Intensive Supervision) Order is a community sanction with the addition of requirements that
- the child will be under the intensive supervision of a Probation Officer;
- reside at a specified residence during the period of intensive supervision;
- undertake and complete an education or training programme, or
- undergo a course of treatment recommended to the Court by the Probation Officer.
The Order is for up to 180 days. However, if it is for more than 90 days, it is subject to review by the Court after 60 days.
The Court must be satisfied that the Probation Officer is available for the intensive supervision and that the child would benefit from intense supervision. It is suitable where the child is at the high end risk of re-offending scale and other lower tariff community sanctions have proved unsuccessful and when the probation report presented to the Court proposes the sanction.
The Court requests a probation report to include an assessment or in Probation (Intensive Supervision) Order. The report is presented to Court outlining the child’s suitability, including details of the proposed Order and duration and whether the child and/or parents’ consent.
An Intensive Supervision Order is made by the Court. It is to specify
- the education or training programme to be undertaken and completed or the course of treatment to be undergone, by the child.
- the period the Order is in force
- the residence the child is to reside at for the duration of the Order and
- any other conditions as may be suitable.
The Court will send certified copies of the order to:the person in charge of the programme or course, the Probation Officer and the parents or guardians of the child.
If the Order is to exceed 90 days, a review is to take place after 60 days. If the child fails to comply with the Order, the Probation Officer returns the case to Court for consideration.
A Probation (Residential Supervision) Order is a probation order with the additional requirements that the child reside in a hostel residence provided by the Probation Service. It is up to a year in duration. The child while in the residence, is subject to the control and supervision of the person in charge. The Court must be satisfied that the residence is reasonably close to the child’s usual place of residence or to any place where the child is receiving education or training or is employed.
The Order might be considered where
- the child is at moderate risk of re-offending and other lower community sanctions have been unsuccessful or unsuitable
- the child’s current place of residence is unsuitable or unlikely to assist them in refraining from offending behaviour;
- the probation report proposes the sanction;
- there is a suitable residence available; and
- the child agrees to consent to the Order.
In the first stage, the Court requests a Probation Officer to include an assessment for a Residential Supervision Order. The Report outlines the child’s suitability for the sanction, including details of the residence and the proposed duration. It will outline if the child consents. Other conditions may be imposed.
If the Order is made, it shall state the conditions and the duration of the Order. If the child fails to comply, the Probation Officer reapplies to Court. An application may be made by the child, parent or guardian or Probation Officer to vary the Order, where it appears in the interest of the child so to do.
Where a person fails to comply with the condition of probation, Court may, in addition to its general power direct the child to comply with the condition insofar as it has not done so and revoke the order and substitute another community sanction.
A Suitable Person (Care and Supervision) Order is a community sanction with requirements as follows added:
- the Court may assign the child to care of a suitable person, who may be a relative; written consent must be given by the guardians or parent.
A suitable person must be available and consent
- the child must reside at that person’s address.
- it may be for the period of up to two years.
The suitable person will have a role similar to a parent and promote the child’s welfare, health, and development. The child is under the supervision of the Probation Officer. The Order may be subject to conditions.
The Order may be considered when proposed in a pre-sanction report. It may be appropriate where there is an absence of family stability, support, or supervision and where children may fall into a pattern of offending behaviour and are a risk to themselves and others.
The Court requests a probation report to include an assessment of suitability for a suitable person order. The report is presented to the Court outlining the child’s suitability and sets out whether the parents or guardians consent. It will detail whether a suitable person is available, whether a relative or carer. Other conditions may be proposed.
If deemed appropriate, an order is made by the Court. Application can be made to revoke or vary the order, by a Probation Officer.
Where the Order is in force and the child has failed without reasonable cause to comply with the Order or conditions, the Court may
- direct the child to comply with the Order,
- revoke the order or substitute another Order, or community sanction or
- revoke the Order and deal with the case in any other way which it could have been dealt with before the Order was made.
The Court is to take into account in the above decision, the extent to which the child has complied with the Order and the conditions on it.
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