Community work orders for young people

If a young person aged between 10 and 17 years old is found guilty of an offence, a court may issue them with a community work order (CWO).

Under a CWO, they do unpaid work that benefits the community and aims to repair the harm that they’ve caused.

It also allows them to develop pro-social behaviours, learn new skills and set a positive pathway.

A CWO may involve:

  • assisting charity stores or food banks
  • helping in aged care or Aboriginal and youth community centres
  • assisting with outdoor projects such as:
    • removing graffiti
    • grounds maintenance
    • rubbish removal
    • conservation and land management
    • landscaping.

These projects are developed through partnerships with Territory Families, Housing and Communities (TFHC) and community organisations.

Before the court makes their decision, a young person’s suitability for this work may be assessed by TFHC.

If you’re a business or organisation in the Northern Territory (NT), you can find out how to become a service provider below.

If a young person is issued a CWO, it’s their responsibility to take part in a project for a certain amount of hours.

The type of community work and number of hours they do is up to the court to decide.

TFHC will support the young person to follow their order and document their attendance.

While completing the work, they will also be monitored at all times by the project's supervisor. A staff member from TFHC may attend too.

If you’re a business or organisation in the NT, you can apply to have your project considered as community work.

This includes:

  • charities, not-for-profit organisations or community groups
  • local government bodies
  • institutions for the socially disadvantaged or people with a disability
  • private enterprises or business owners.

Before you apply

Before you apply, you must be able to meet or demonstrate the following criteria:

  • the work will:
    • benefit the community, is restorative in nature and/or provides a meaningful pathway for the young person
    • not provide any personal or financial benefit to TFHC or its staff
    • not be demeaning or degrading
  • the project supervisor must:
    • be present the entire time the young person is attending
    • watch the work performance of the young person and complete documentation eg. attendance sheets and incident reports
    • maintain a safe working environment under the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011
    • have a current working with children clearance (Ochre Card) and provide evidence of this
  • the organisation must have public liability insurance and provide evidence of this.

How to apply

To apply or for more information, contact your nearest Youth Outreach and Re-engagement office in the Youth Justice unit.


For more information, contact your nearest Youth Outreach and Re-engagement office in the Youth Justice unit.

Last updated: 09 August 2022

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