4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2017-18 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/02/2019   
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INDIGENOUS STATUS

This chapter presents Indigenous status1 data about defendants finalised in the criminal courts of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Indigenous status data for other states and territories are not of sufficient quality and/or did not meet ABS standards for national reporting in 2017–18 (see Explanatory Notes 54–57).


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER DEFENDANTS

During 2017–18, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants finalised comprised:

  • 78% (5,723) in the Northern Territory
  • 23% (24,595) in Queensland
  • 19% (4,635) in South Australia
  • 16% (14,966) in New South Wales.

PROPORTION OF ALL DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants(a) by selected states and territories, 2016–17 to 2017–18
PROPORTION OF ALL DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants(a) by selected states and territories, 2016–17 to 2017–18
Footnote(s): (a) Excludes defendants with a principal offence of Dangerous or negligent operation of a vehicle (ANZSOC Sub-division 041) and Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (ANZSOC Division 14). See Explanatory Note 56.

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Commonwealth of Australia 2019.


Between 2016–17 and 2017–18, there were decreases in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants in South Australia (7%, 375) and the Northern Territory (4%, 212). In comparison, increases were recorded in New South Wales (4%, 617 defendants) and Queensland (1%, 271 defendants). (Table 12)

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants remained stable, increasing by 3% or less within each state/territory during 2017–18.

Males accounted for the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants in each of the selected states and territories, ranging from 70% (17,173) in Queensland, to 82% (4,696) in the Northern Territory. (Table 13)

PRINCIPAL OFFENCE

Acts intended to cause injury was the most common principal offence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants in New South Wales (40%, 6,041), South Australia (32%, 1,482) and the Northern Territory (42%, 2,405). (Table 13)

In Queensland, Offences against justice were the most common for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants (18%, 4,347). (Table 13)

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER DEFENDANTS FINALISED(a), Proportion with a principal offence of Acts intended to cause injury, 2016–17 to 2017–18
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER DEFENDANTS FINALISED(a), Proportion with a principal offence of Acts intended to cause injury, 2016–17 to 2017–18
Footnote(s): (a) Excludes defendants with a principal offence of Dangerous or negligent operation of a vehicle (ANZSOC Sub-division 041) and Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (ANZSOC Division 14). See Explanatory Note 56.

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Commonwealth of Australia 2019.


PRINCIPAL SENTENCE

In each of the selected states and territories, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants proven guilty ranged from 67% (3,094) in South Australia to 84% (20,695) in Queensland.

Of those proven guilty, the majority were sentenced to a non-custodial order in New South Wales (64%, 7,634), Queensland (76%, 15,741) and South Australia (69%, 2,122).

In the Northern Territory, the most common sentence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants was custody in a correctional institution (62%, 2,922). (Table 13)

The median sentence length for custody in a correctional institution2 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants ranged from 3 months in the Northern Territory to 12 months in New South Wales. (Table 61)


DEFENDANT RATES

The rate3 of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants (per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Islander persons) was lower than five years ago in three of the four states/territories. Decreases between 2012–13 and 2017–18 occurred in:
  • South Australia, down 2,706 to 13,927 defendants
  • Northern Territory, down 1,539 to 9,288 defendants
  • Queensland, down 158 to 14,677 defendants.
    The only increase was in New South Wales, which went up by 1,256 since 2012–13, to 8,201 defendants in 2017–18. (Table 15)

    ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER DEFENDANT RATE(a)(b), Selected states and territories, 2012–13 to 2017–18
    ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER DEFENDANT RATE(a)(b), Selected states and territories, 2012–13 to 2017–18
    Footnote(s): (a) Rate per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons for the state/territory of interest. (b) Excludes defendants with a principal offence of Dangerous or negligent operation of a vehicle (ANZSOC Sub-division 041) and Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (ANZSOC Division 14). See Explanatory Note 56.

    Australian Bureau of Statistics
    Commonwealth of Australia 2019.


    Footnotes

    1 For more information on Indigenous status, see Explanatory Notes 54–57.
    2 Excluding life and indeterminate imprisonment (see Explanatory Note 48).
    3 For information on the crude rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants, see Explanatory Notes 58–64.