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This chapter presents data about the Indigenous Status of offenders for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. Based on an ABS assessment, Indigenous Status data for other states are not of sufficient quality and/or do not meet ABS standards for self-identification for national reporting in 2016–17.
Indigenous Status is difficult to ascertain when police proceed by way of a penalty notice, as this does not provide an opportunity for police to ask individuals to self-identify. As a result, offenders who were proceeded against by a penalty notice have been excluded from the published Indigenous Status data. Therefore this publication does not include a count of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders proceeded against by police. This also affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offender rates. For further information, refer to paragraph 29 of the Explanatory Notes.
For the data presented here, there remain a small proportion of offenders whose Indigenous Status was ‘not stated/unknown.’ In 2016–17 the proportion of unknowns was 7% in New South Wales, 2% in Queensland, 8% in South Australia and less than 1% in the Northern Territory. There were no offenders with an unknown Indigenous Status in the Australian Capital Territory. The proportion of offenders with an Indigenous Status of not stated/unknown can vary from year to year. For this reason, caution should be exercised when interpreting movements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data. For further information, refer to paragraph 30 of the Explanatory Notes.
In 2016–17, Acts intended to cause injury was the most common principal offence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders for all of the states and territories for which Indigenous Status data were available. About half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders in New South Wales and the Northern Territory (49% and 50%) had a principal offence of Acts intended to cause injury; more than a third in South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory (36% and 35%) and a fifth in Queensland (20%).
Acts intended to cause injury was also the most common principal offence for non-Indigenous offenders in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory (34% and 29% of non-Indigenous offenders). Illicit drug offences was the most common principal offence for non-Indigenous offenders in Queensland, South Australia1 and the Northern Territory (34%, 32% and 30%). (Table 22)
Footnote(s): (a) Excludes offenders with a penalty notice as their principal method of proceeding (see Explanatory Notes paragraph 29). (b) For New South Wales, Division 02 may be overstated and Division 05 understated (see Explanatory Notes paragraph 51). (c) For South Australia, data may be overstated (see Explanatory Notes paragraph 64). (d) Excludes 1523 Breach of bail. (e) In some instances, Indigenous Status was obtained by ACT Police without giving the offender the opportunity to self-identify. However, the proportion of records not obtained via self-identification was low, and the impact on the data was minimal (see Explanatory Notes paragraph 28).
Source(s): Recorded Crime - Offenders
SEX AND AGE
In 2016–17, the age range at which the offender rate peaked was older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders than for non-Indigenous offenders for all states and territories for which Indigenous Status data were available:
The ratio of male to female offender rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders was lowest in Queensland, at twice the female rate (14,857 male offenders per 100,000 males, compared to 6,887 female offenders per 100,000 females). The ratio was highest in the Northern Territory at four times the female rate (12,584 compared to 3,578).
In contrast, the non-Indigenous offender rate for males was four times that for females in all selected states and territories in 2016–17 (except in Queensland where the male rate was three times higher). (Table 24)
AGE STANDARDISED OFFENDER RATES
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population has a younger age distribution than the non-Indigenous population. Since offender rates are correlated with age, for some analysis it may be more appropriate to use age standardised rates when comparing populations. These rates adjust the crude rates to factor in the effect of the age structure of the population (see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 23–26).
The ratio of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander to non-Indigenous age standardised offender rates can then be used to compare the two populations. In 2016–17, the ratio of age standardised rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders were five times the non-Indigenous offender rate in both New South Wales and Queensland and almost nine times for the Northern Territory. (Table 23)
Queensland had the highest proportion of offenders proceeded against more than once during the 2016–17 reference period for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders (51%) and non-Indigenous offenders (34%). The Australian Capital Territory had the lowest proportion of offenders proceeded against more than once for both population groups (34% and 16%). (Table 25)
1. Data may be overstated, see Explanatory Note 64
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