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1387.3 - Queensland in Review, 2003  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/04/2005  Ceased
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people tend to have relatively high rates of contact with the criminal justice system, as victims or offenders, and are over-represented in the prison system. Some indicators of this which were collected by the 2002 NATSISS were the prevalence of victimisation, and the level of involvement of Indigenous people with the criminal justice system in relation to arrests and incarceration. Information was also collected on the age at which Indigenous people first came into contact with the criminal justice system, in terms of their first formal charge.


LAW AND JUSTICE INDICATORS, Indigenous persons aged 15 years or over, Queensland, 2002
Victim of physical or threatened violence
in last 12 months
Used legal services
in last 12 months
Arrested by police
in last 5 years
Formally charged
at some time
Total
%
%
%
%
Persons

Indigenous persons aged 15 years or over
26.5
20.5
14.3
33.6
76,000
Males
26.8
21.1
22.5
47.7
35,900
Females
26.1
20.0
7.0
*21.0
40,100
Remote areas
29.7
23.7
17.5
32.8
19,200
Non-remote areas
25.4
19.4
13.3
33.9
56,900
Aboriginal persons(a)
27.0
21.6
14.9
35.2
66,400
Torres Strait Islander persons(a)
24.4
15.0
11.9
30.6
16,600
Aged 15-24
38.5
17.7
19.1
33.1
22,300
Aged 25-44
23.8
23.7
15.4
35.2
35,400
Aged 45 and over
17.1
17.7
*6.4
31.3
18,400
Employed
23.4
20.4
12.0
31.5
34,700
Unemployed
33.9
21.3
25.6
50.1
12,000
Not in labour force
27.1
20.3
12.4
29.4
29,300

* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
(a) Includes persons identified as being of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin
Source: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Queensland, 2002, cat. no. 4714.3.55.001 and data available on request.


Victimisation

In 2002, more than 1 in 4 Indigenous people reported that they had been a victim of physical or threatened violence in the previous 12 months. Rates of victimisation were similar for those living in remote and non-remote areas, for both men and women and regardless of educational attainment. Younger people (aged 15-24 years) had the highest reported victimisation rate (39%). People in higher income households tended to have lower rates of victimisation, but those with higher educational attainments reported similar rates.

The proportion of Indigenous people who reported that they had been a victim of physical or threatened violence in the previous 12 months rose significantly from 9% in 1994 to 27% in 2002. Some of this increase may reflect under-reporting by respondents in the 1994 NATSIS.

The proportion of Indigenous people who reported using legal services in the previous 12 months increased from 12% in 1994 to 21% in 2002. Aboriginal people were more likely than Torres Strait Islander people to have used legal services in the last 12 months (22% compared to 15%). People living in remote areas were more likely to have used legal services in the last 12 months (24% compared to 19% for those living in non-remote areas).

Comparison of Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations (age standardised figures for ages 18 years or over, Queensland, 2002)
  • Indigenous people experienced double the victimisation rate of non-Indigenous people (22% compared to 11%).

Source: General Social Survey, 2002 and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2002. (See table 5 in the data cube 4714.3.55.001 - charges apply).

Note: As the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations have different age structures, it can be misleading to make direct comparisons concerning characteristics which are largely age-dependent. Rather, age-standardised rates are used in this comparison.

These data are consistent with the very much higher rates in the Indigenous population of both hospitalisation and mortality due to assault. For more information, see The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2003 (cat. no. 4704.0).

Involvement in the criminal justice system

Two thirds of Indigenous people aged 15 years or over had never been formally charged for a criminal offence. Males were far more likely to have been charged (48%) compared with 21% of females. Half of those currently unemployed had been charged at some time, compared to 32% of those currently employed.

The proportion of Indigenous people who reported that they had been arrested in the previous 5 years remained stable between 1994 and 2002.


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