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As the Indigenous status of an offender is based on self-identification by the individual who comes into contact with police, Indigenous identification is difficult to ascertain where police proceed by way of a summons, penalty/infringement notice which usually do not provide an opportunity for police to ask individuals to self-identify. As a result, all offenders who were proceeded against by police through the issuing of a penalty/infringement notice have been excluded from the Indigenous status data in Tables 3.7, 3.8 and 3.9 in this publication (see Explanatory Notes, paragraphs 31-32 for details of impact of this approach on levels of "not stateds").
Although offenders who have been proceeded against by police through the issuing of a penalty/infringement notice have been excluded from the Indigenous status data in this publication, there still remains a number of offenders with an unknown Indigenous status in the published data: New South Wales (5%); Queensland (12%); South Australia (11%) and Northern Territory (2%).
Excluding offenders who were proceeded against by a penalty notice, persons who identified as being Indigenous accounted for 75% of offenders in the Northern Territory, 15% in Queensland, and 13% in both South Australia and New South Wales.
South Australia's Indigenous offender rate of 14,404 Indigenous offenders per 100,000 Indigenous persons aged 10 years and over was the highest of the selected states and territory. The Indigenous offender rate in South Australia was 11 times the non-Indigenous offender rate, the highest ratio for any of the four states and territory. The next highest ratio of Indigenous to non-Indigenous offender rates was in the Northern Territory at 8 times higher. In New South Wales it was slightly less than 8 times higher, and in Queensland it was less than 7 times the rate of non-Indigenous offenders.
The extent to which Indigenous offender rates are higher than non-Indigenous offender rates varies noticeably across principal offences. For offenders with a principal offence related to fraud and deception, Indigenous offender rates for all four states and territory are two to five times higher than those of the non-Indigenous population. For the principal offence of acts intended to cause injury, there is a marked difference between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, with the Indigenous offender rate being 10 to 16 times higher than the rates of the non-Indigenous population.
Indigenous offenders consistently had higher proportions than non-Indigneous offenders who were proceeded against by police on two or more occasions during 2008-09. Proportions across the four states and territory were similar for both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous offender populations. The Northern Territory reported the lowest proportions of repeat offenders: 44% of Indigenous and 25% of non-Indigenous offenders.
Offenders, Proportion proceeded against more than once by Indigenous status - selected states and territories