Firearms offences: current sentencing practices

Criminal justice Firearms Crime Sentencing Victoria

Overall, the number of sentenced charges of firearms offences increased by 34% over the reference period (from 2,375 to 3,191 sentenced charges annually). Between 2012–13 and 2016–17, the number of sentenced charges of firearms offences in Victoria more than doubled in the higher courts, doubled in the Children’s Court and increased by approximately 30% in the Magistrates’ Court, where the majority of firearms offences are sentenced. Over the reference period, 14,828 firearms offences were sentenced in Victorian courts.

This report only contains findings on firearms offences that were detected by law enforcement, charged and sentenced within the reference period. As further firearms offences may not have been detected, the data may underestimate the prevalence of these offences in Victoria. However, overall trends are unlikely to be affected.

The report also examines:

  • the characteristics (age and gender) of firearms offenders;
  • offences sentenced alongside firearms charges (co-sentenced offences) in each court;
  • sentencing outcomes at the charge level for the offence of prohibited person possess, carry or use a firearm under section 5(1) of the Firearms Act 1996 (Vic);
  • sentencing factors present in cases sentenced in the higher courts (the County and Supreme Courts) during the reference period; and
  • cumulation of sentences on firearms charges in the higher courts.
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