Local Court

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Diversion programs


In some circumstances, people facing criminal charges in court may be referred to a rehabilitation, treatment or intervention program that is intended to address underlying problems, such as:

  • drug or alcohol dependency
  • mental illness
  • homelessness
  • extreme poverty

The magistrate or judicial officer will adjourn the case while a defendant participates in the diversion program.

Other court programs provide an alternative forum for hearing a case or negotiating an outcome.

Courts with integrated treatment programs

Drug Court

This specialist court offers special programs to reduce reoffending by adults who are dependent on drugs.

Visit the Drug Court website for more information.

Local Court diversion programs

A number of treatment and intervention referral programs are offered at the local court. This is a summary of the diversion programs in the local court.

Court Referral of Eligible Defendants into Treatment (CREDIT)

The CREDIT program targets adult defendants at the local court who want to address underlying issues related to their offending behaviour.

Those identified as at risk of re-offending undergo case management and are referred to educational, training, treatment or social welfare services. CREDIT operates at Burwood and Tamworth Local Courts.

Find out more about CREDIT in the CREDIT pamphlet [PDF 1.4MB].

Magistrates Early Referral into Treatment (MERIT )

The MERIT program is available in the local court to give adult defendants with drug or alcohol problems the opportunity to undertake a voluntary rehabilitation program as part of the bail process.

People can nominate themselves or be identified by the magistrate, solicitor or police as suitable for assessment for the MERIT program.

Visit the MERIT website for more information.

Traffic Offender Intervention program

This program, offered by the NSW Department of Roads and Maritime Services, targets offenders who have pleaded guilty or been found guilty of traffic offences in the local court.

The Traffic Offender Intervention program is a community-based, road safety education program. It provides offenders with the information and skills necessary to develop positive attitudes towards driving and become safer drivers.

Find out more about TOIPs.

Domestic Violence Court Intervention Model (DVCIM)

The DVCIM program operates at Wagga Wagga and Campbelltown Local Court and is an integrated criminal justice and community social welfare response to domestic violence. Where the matter is appropriate for prosecution, DVCIM provide witness preparation and ensures victim safety and support is addressed.

For more information, see the booklet Your court, your safety: a guide to going to court to get help with domestic violence [PDF 322kb].

Forum Sentencing

Forum Sentencing brings together an offender, the victim and other people affected by the crime. Forum Sentencing operates at selected NSW Local Courts and will be extended across the state over the next few years.

Visit the Forum Sentencing website for more information.

Circle Sentencing

Circle Sentencing is an alternative sentencing court for adult Aboriginal offenders. It directly involves local Aboriginal people in the process of sentencing offenders, with the aims of making it more meaningful and improving confidence in the criminal justice system.

Find more information about Circle Sentencing on the Judicial Commission website.

​The information on this site is a guide only and is not legal advice - see disclaimer.