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4725.0 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth, Apr 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/05/2012  Reissue
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Contents >> Law and Justice >> Experiences of discrimination


LAW AND JUSTICE: EXPERIENCES OF DISCRIMINATION

This article is part of a comprehensive series released as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth.


Note: In this section, the terms 'youth' and 'young people' refer to people aged 15–24 years. Data presented are from the ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 (cat. no. 4714.0).

KEY MESSAGES

Of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in 2008:
  • 26% felt that they had been discriminated against in the last 12 months because they were of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin
  • 11% felt that they had been discriminated against by the police or criminal justice system in the last 12 months because they were of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.

Experiences of discrimination may have wide-ranging effects on a person's general wellbeing. Recent research suggests that experiencing racism and discrimination can negatively affect areas of wellbeing such as mental and physical health (Endnote 1).

In 2008, almost three-quarters (74%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth felt that they had not been discriminated against in the previous 12 months for being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin, whereas just over one-quarter of youth (26%) had experienced discrimination.

EXPERIENCES OF DISCRIMINATION AND OTHER ASPECTS OF WELLBEING

The 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) found that young people who had not experienced discrimination in the past 12 months were more likely than those who had to report other positive aspects of wellbeing.

For example, youth who had not experienced discrimination were more likely than those who had to:
  • be employed (48% compared with 37%)
  • be currently studying (43% compared with 35%)
  • agree or strongly agree that most people could be trusted (39% compared with 29%)
  • be able to get general support from people outside the household (90% compared with 81%).
They were also less likely to:
SPOTLIGHT: CULTURAL CONNECTIONS AND DISCRIMINATION

Two-thirds (66%) of young people who had experienced discrimination identified with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural group and three-quarters (75%) recognised an area as their homelands. These rates were significantly higher than the corresponding rates for young people who had not experienced discrimination (45% and 55% respectively).


WHERE DISCRIMINATION OCCURS

Of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, just over one in ten (11%) felt that they had been discriminated against in the previous 12 months by the police, security, lawyers or a court for being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. More than half of these young people (58%) reported experiencing discrimination in these situations all or most of the time.

A similar proportion of youth (10%) reported experiencing discrimination from members of the public. This was lower among youth in remote areas than non-remote areas (7% and 11% respectively).

2.1 EXPERIENCES OF DISCRIMINATION (a), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 15–24 years—2008

Situation where discrimination was felt
Non-remote
Remote
Total

%
%
%
By the police, security people, lawyers or in a court of law
10.6
11.3
10.7
By members of the public
(b)11.5
(b)6.8
10.4
When seeking services (including at hospitals or government agencies)
6.9
7.0
6.9
Applying for work or when at work
7.0
5.8
6.8
At school, university, training course or other educational setting
6.5
*4.0
5.9
Other situations (c)
7.3
7.0
7.3

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.
(a) Respondents could identify more than one situation in which they felt discriminated against.
(b) Difference between non-remote and remote areas is statistically significant.
(c) Includes discrimination at home, by neighbours or at someone else's home; while doing sporting, recreational or leisure activities; and in other situations not defined.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey

ENDNOTES

1: Paradies, Y., Harris, R. and Anderson, I. 2008, The Impact of Racism on Indigenous Health in Australia and Aotearoa: Towards a Research Agenda, Discussion Paper No. 4, Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health, Darwin. <www.crcah.org.au>


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