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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
(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.
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).
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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