New Crime Statistics Agency research finds cautioned youth less likely to reoffend


Monday 25 September 2017

Young people who receive a police caution are less likely to reoffend in the following twelve months compared with those who are formally charged, Crime Statistics Agency research released today shows.

The research found that 36% of young people who received a caution reoffended within twelve months compared with 48% of those who were formally charged by police.

Crime Statistics Agency Chief Statistician Fiona Dowsley said a quarter (26.9%) of young people who were charged reoffended within three months, while the same proportion of cautioned young people reoffended within six months.

 “Our research found young people who received a caution were slower to reoffend and were recorded for fewer offences than young people who received a charge,” she said.

“These results provide further evidence to support the use of cautions for responding to youth reoffending in Victoria,” Ms Dowsley said.

“After twelve months half the young people who were charged by police were recorded for five or more further offences, while only one-third of those who were cautioned reoffended with the same intensity,” she said.

The research also considered the types of offences recorded for the young people who reoffended during the twelve month follow-up period.

Charged young people were more likely to commit all offence types within the follow-up period than young people who received a caution.

Specifically, the largest differences were recorded in the reoffending rates of theft, property damage and assault offences, which were up to 56% higher for charged young people compared with cautioned young people.


The research paper The Cautious Approach: Police cautions and the impact on youth reoffending is available here. It examined the characteristics that impacted on a young person aged 10-17 receiving a caution or a charge from police between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016.

For further information please contact:
Dr Jacqueline Woerner, Crime Statistics Agency Research and Evaluation Manager
Phone: 8684 1828
Email: (External link)  

Crime Statistics Agency, 2017
Crime Statistics Agency, 2017
Date of Publication


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