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4519.0 - Recorded Crime - Offenders, 2010–11 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/02/2012   
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Contents >> Summary, states and territories >> ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER OFFENDERS

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER OFFENDERS

This publication presents data about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Based on an ABS assessment, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders data for other jurisdictions are not of sufficient quality and/or do not meet ABS standards for self-identification for national reporting in 2010-11.

As at 31 December 2010, the proportion of the Estimated Resident Population aged 10 years and over who were identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander were as follows:

  • Northern Territory - 28%;
  • Queensland - 3%;
  • New South Wales - 3%; and
  • South Australia - 2%.

Caution should be exercised when interpreting movements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offender numbers as data movements may be impacted by the willingness of people to self-identify as being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin when they come into contact with police.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification is difficult to ascertain where police proceed by way of a summons or penalty/infringement notice as these methods 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 3.9, 3.10, 3.11 and 3.12 in this publication. See paragraphs 38-42 of the Explanatory Notes for further information.

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 remain a small proportion of offenders whose Indigenous status remains unknown (not stated) in the published data: New South Wales (5%); Queensland (8%); South Australia (13%) and Northern Territory (4%). (Table 3.10)

Excluding offenders who were proceeded against by a penalty/infringement notice, offenders who identified as being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander accounted for 71% of offenders in the Northern Territory, 18% in Queensland, 13% in South Australia and 12% in New South Wales. (Table 3.10)

South Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander crude offender rate of 13,695 per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons aged 10 years and over was the highest of the selected states and territory. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander crude offender rate in South Australia was 11 times the non-Indigenous crude offender rate, which was the highest ratio for any of the four states and territory. The ratio of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander to non-Indigenous crude offender rates in Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales were all slightly more than seven times higher than the non-Indigenous rates. (Table 3.9)

Offender rate(a)(b), Indigenous status by selected states and territories
Graph: Offender rate(a)(b), Indigenous status by selected states and territories



Age standardised rates

The following offender rates have been age standardised. Age standardisation is a method of removing the influence of age when comparing populations with different age structures. When comparing rates of offending for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous offenders, it is preferable to use age standardised rates (see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 32-37).

The offender rates per 100,000 persons aged 10 years and over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders were:
  • 5,948 in New South Wales;
  • 8,530 in Queensland;
  • 11,585 in South Australia; and
  • 5,931 in Northern Territory. (Table 3.9)

South Australia had the highest offender rate per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons aged 10 years and over for selected states and territories. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offender rate for South Australia was just over eight times the non-Indigenous offender rate. The ratio of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander to non-Indigenous offender rates in New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory was approximately six times higher than the non-Indigenous rates. (Table 3.9)


Principal offence

The extent to which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offender crude rates were higher than non-Indigenous offender rates varied noticeably across principal offence types and by jurisdiction. The offender rates for Unlawful entry with intent showed the greatest disparity between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous populations, with the rates 17 to 20 times higher for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population across the four jurisdictions, followed by Acts intended to cause injury (between 10 and 16 times higher) and Robbery and extortion (between 7 and 16 times higher). (Table 3.10)


Age

Crude Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offending rates peaked in the 15 to 19 year age groups for New South Wales (12,089 offenders) and Queensland (16,797 offenders). In the Northern Territory, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander crude offending rates peaked in the 25 to 29 year age groups (10,768) while in South Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander crude offending rates peaked in the 30 to 34 year age group (20,402). Non-Indigenous offender rates peaked in the 15 to 19 year age group for each of the selected states and territory. (Table 3.11)

For each of the selected states and territory, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders had a lower mean age compared with non-Indigenous offenders. Queensland had the least difference between the mean age of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-Indigenous offenders (27 years compared with 28 years). The Northern Territory had the highest mean age and largest discrepancy between the mean age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders (29 years) and non-Indigenous offenders (31 years). New South Wales had the lowest mean age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders (26 years) compared with non-Indigenous offenders (29 years). Both New South Wales and South Australia had the largest difference in mean age between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders and non-Indigenous offenders (28 years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders compared with 31 years for non-Indigenous offenders). (Table 3.11)


Repeat offenders

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders were consistently more likely than non-Indigenous offenders to be proceeded against by police on more than one separate occasion during 2010-11. The proportion of offenders who had been proceeded against more than once in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory were similar between 2009-10 and 2010-11 for both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous offender populations. The Northern Territory reported the lowest proportion of offenders who were proceeded against multiple times for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous offenders (43% and 24% respectively). (Table 3.12)

Offenders(a), Proportion proceeded against more than once by Indigenous status - Selected states and territory



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