Aboriginal Youth Cautioning Program (AYCP)

The Aboriginal Youth Cautioning Program aims to reduce contact with the justice system for Aboriginal young people.

Victoria Police respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the country throughout Victoria.

We pay our respects to Elders, both past, present and future and continue to recognise and embrace the fact that Aboriginal People are connected to the oldest, continuous culture and history.

Victoria Police is committed to reducing the number of Aboriginal young people in the criminal justice system. 

As part of this commitment, we have introduced an enhanced cautioning approach developed in partnership with Aboriginal communities to achieve better outcomes for Aboriginal young people in contact with police.

This program is known as the Aboriginal Youth Cautioning Program (AYCP). 

About the Aboriginal Youth Cautioning Program (AYCP)

The AYCP is an enhanced police cautioning program which provides young people with an opportunity to connect with Aboriginal elders and support services in their local area. This assists young people to engage with culturally relevant support to address the factors underlying their contact with police. 

The program draws upon local Aboriginal culture, knowledge, and community to ensure a tailored response for young people coming into contact with police. 

The program incorporates the principles of Aboriginal self-determination, early intervention, and harm reduction.

A caution is a formal alternative to being charged. It is given by police and means that a person will not go to court for their alleged offence and will not record a criminal conviction.

Who can take part in the program

To be eligible for the AYCP, a young person must: 

  • identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander 
  • be aged between 10–17 years 
  • consent to participate* 
  • have consent from a parent or guardian.

Police will also consider the following circumstances of the alleged offence: 

  • the nature and severity 
  • the interests of the victim and the community 
  • the context in which the offence took place 
  • the personal and family circumstances of the young person. 

The safety of the Victorian community is our priority. In some cases, young people may be deemed ineligible for the AYCP due to the severity of an offence, the level of harm caused to a victim or other extenuating circumstances. 

*Participation in the AYCP is consent-based. A young person who is eligible for the AYCP who does not wish to participate will still receive a child caution. 

Aboriginal Youth Cautioning Program locations

The AYCP is currently operating in several locations, including: 

  • Ballarat 
  • Barwon Southwest 
  • Benalla 
  • Bendigo 
  • Campaspe 
  • Cardinia 
  • Casey 
  • Dandenong 
  • Darebin 
  • East Gippsland 
  • Hobsons Bay 
  • Horsham 
  • Latrobe 
  • Maribyrnong
  • Merri-bek
  • Mildura 
  • Northern Grampians 
  • Robinvale 
  • Shepparton 
  • Swan Hill 
  • Wodonga  
  • Wyndham. 

The program will continue to expand to further locations in consultation with Aboriginal communities.

Further information

For more information about the program, please contact office-of-cmdr-pscd@police.vic.gov.au.