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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

LAW AND JUSTICE

PERSONAL SAFETY

According to the 2008 NATSISS, the majority (94%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over felt safe at home alone during the day, 80% felt safe at home alone after dark and 53% felt safe walking alone in their local area after dark. A higher proportion of males than females reported feeling safe in each of these situations (graph 3.39). In addition, females in remote areas were more likely than those in non-remote areas to report feeling safe at home at night (73% compared with 68%) and walking alone in their local area after dark (47% compared with 31%).

3.39 FEELINGS OF PERSONAL SAFETY, By Sex - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over



Neighbourhood/community problems

In 2008, over two-thirds (71%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were aware of at least one neighbourhood or community problem in their area (table 3.40). Nationally, the most commonly reported neighbourhood or community problems were Dangerous or noisy driving (46%), Alcohol (41%) and Theft (41%). Alcohol, Illegal drugs, Problems involving youths, Assault and Family violence were reported at higher rates in remote areas than in non-remote areas.


3.40 NEIGHBOURHOOD OR COMMUNITY PROBLEMS, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over—2008

Non-remote areas
Remote areas
Australia
Selected neighbourhood/community problems
%
%
%

Dangerous or noisy driving(a)
47.0
43.2
46.1
Alcohol
37.1
53.9
41.3
Theft (including burglaries, theft from homes, motor vehicle theft)(a)
42.1
38.3
41.1
Illegal drugs
34.4
42.5
36.4
Vandalism/graffiti/damage to property(a)
35.2
35.7
35.3
Problems involving youths, such as youth gangs/lack of youth activity
32.8
39.1
34.4
Family violence
20.8
36.9
24.8
Assault (including sexual)
19.5
37.4
24.0
Prowlers/loiterers(a)
19.1
19.1
19.1
Total reporting one or more problems(a)(b)
70.1
74.1
71.1
no.
no
no.
Persons aged 15 years and over
245 600
81 500
327 100

(a) Difference between non-remote and remote rate is not statistically significant.
(b) Sum of components exceeds total as respondents could report more than one type of problem.

Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey.


DISCRIMINATION AND OTHER PERSONAL STRESSORS

In 2008, an estimated 89,300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over (27%) felt that they had been discriminated against (for being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander) in the 12 months before the survey. Around one in nine people (11%) felt that they had been discriminated against by members of the public, 11% by the police, security, lawyers or a court and 8% when applying for work or at work. In addition, an estimated one in six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (18%) had experienced one or more personal stressors in the previous 12 months involving contact with the law, or which may have increased the likelihood of such contact. These personal stressors included alcohol-related problems (7%), trouble with the police (5%) witnessing violence (4%), and the individual (or a family member) having spent time in jail (4%).


VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE

In 2008, one-quarter (25%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had been a victim of physical and/or threatened violence in the 12 months before the survey. Similar rates were reported for males and females and for people in non-remote and remote areas. However, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 45 years and over, higher rates were reported in non-remote areas than in remote areas (15% compared with 10%) (graph 3.41).

3.41 VICTIMS OF PHYSICAL OR THREATENED VIOLENCE, By age, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over



Reporting violence

In 2008, an estimated 47,800 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over (15%) had been a victim of physical violence in the previous 12 months. In most cases, the perpetrator was known to the victim; however, the relationship between the victim and offender varied according to gender. Female victims of violence most commonly identified an ex-partner (including former boyfriend) (28%), a family member (27%), a current partner (15%) or a friend (10%) as the perpetrator, while male victims were most likely to have identified the perpetrator as someone known to them by sight only (20%), a family member (20%) a friend (15%) or someone else they knew (16%). Almost half of those who had been victims of physical violence in the last year (21,700 or 45%), had reported the most recent incident to the police. Females were twice as likely as males to have reported physical violence to the police (60% compared with 30%).


ARRESTS

In 2008, one in seven Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over (15%) had been arrested at least once in the previous five years (22% of males and 9% of females). Of the 49,100 people who had been arrested during this period, half (50%) had only been arrested once, 22% had been arrested twice and 26% had been arrested on three or more occasions. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males were more likely than females to have been arrested on three or more occasions (29% compared with 20%). Similar arrest rates were reported for females in non-remote areas and remote areas. However, males in remote areas were more likely than those in non-remote areas to have been arrested in the previous five years (29% compared with 20%).


USE OF LEGAL SERVICES

In 2008, one in six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over (17%) had used legal services in the 12 months before the survey. One in eight people (13%) had used Aboriginal Legal Services/Legal Aid and 5% had used private legal services or other services. People aged 15–24 years or 45 years and over were less likely to have used legal services in the last 12 months (14% of each age group), than those who were aged 25–34 or 35–44 years (22% of each age group).


ADULT IMPRISONMENT

According to the ABS Prisoners in Australia publication, there were 7,584 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners in 2010, accounting for just over one-quarter (26%) of the total adult prisoner population. Acts intended to cause injury (33%) and unlawful entry with intent (15%) accounted for around half of the most serious offences/charges reported for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners.

The majority (91%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners were male. Although there were fewer female prisoners, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women comprised 30% of the total female prisoner population, while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men accounted for 25% of the total male prisoner population. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners tended to be younger than non-Indigenous prisoners. Just over three-quarters of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners (76%) were 20–39 years of age, compared with almost two-thirds (64%) of non-Indigenous prisoners.

For more information on adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners, see chapter 13 CRIME AND JUSTICE. That chapter also provides information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in custody (which comprised 15% of all deaths in custody in 2008).

 

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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.


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