4519.0 - Recorded Crime - Offenders, 2017-18 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/03/2019   
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INDIGENOUS STATUS, SELECTED STATES AND TERRITORIES

OVERVIEW

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 2017–18.

The Indigenous status of an offender 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. Data presented in this chapter therefore does not cover the whole offender population, rather it presents information about a subset of offenders, excluding those who were proceeded against via a penalty notice. This also affects offender rates. For further information, refer to the Explanatory Notes.

For the data presented here, there remain a small proportion of offenders whose Indigenous status was ‘not stated/unknown’. The proportion of unknown Indigenous status may vary by offence type and from year to year. For this reason, caution should be exercised when interpreting movement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data. For further information refer to the Explanatory Notes.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER OFFENDERS

In 2017–18, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders proceeded against by police decreased in three out of the five states and territories for which Indigenous status data were available:

  • Queensland (down 1% or 242 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders)
  • South Australia (down 1% or 57 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders)
  • New South Wales (down less than 1% or 75 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders) (Table 22)

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders increased in the Northern Territory (up 2% or 96 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders) and the Australian Capital Territory (up 7%, or 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders. (Table 22)

Principal offence

In 2017–18, Acts intended to cause injury was the most common principal offence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders across all states and territories for which Indigenous status data were available; ranging from the largest proportion in the Northern Territory (52%) to the lowest in Queensland (20%). (Table 22)

Acts intended to cause injury has been the most common principal offence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders since the beginning of the time series in 2008–09 across each of these states and territories (except Queensland, where Public order offences were the most common principal offence until 2014–15). (Table 22)

South Australia had the highest rate of Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander offenders for this offence in 2017–18, with 4,549 offenders per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, while the Australian Capital Territory had the lowest rate with 1,775 offenders per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons. (Table 22)

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER OFFENDER RATE(a)(b), Acts intended to cause injury for selected states and territories, 2017–18
Graph Image for ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER OFFENDER RATE(a)(b), Acts intended to cause injury for selected states and territories, 2017–18
Footnotes: (a) Excludes offenders with a penalty notice as their principal method of proceeding (see Explanatory Notes). (b) Rate per 100,000 persons aged 10 years and over for the state/territory and Indigenous status of interest (see Explanatory Notes). (c) Division 05 understated (see Explanatory Notes).

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Commonwealth of Australia 2019

Sex

In 2017–18, male Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders continued to account for a higher proportion of the offender population than female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders at a ratio of:
  • 4 times more in the Northern Territory
  • 3 times more in New South Wales
  • 2 times more in South Australia
  • 2 times more in Queensland (Table 24)

Between 2016–17 and 2017–18, the rate of female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons decreased across almost all states and territories (except in the Australian Capital Territory). The largest decrease occurred in South Australia, down from 7,669 to 7,363 offenders per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females. (Table 24)

The male offender rate also decreased across the same time period in almost all states and territories (except in the Northern Territory). The largest decrease occurred in Queensland (down 580 male offenders per 100,000 to 14,276 male offenders per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males). (Table 24)

Age

In 2017–18, over a third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders were aged under 25 years across each of these states and territories:
  • Queensland (45% or 7,924 offenders)
  • New South Wales (44% or 5,179 offenders)
  • Australian Capital Territory (42% or 136 offenders)
  • South Australia (37% or 1,470 offenders)
  • Northern Territory (34% or 1,697 offenders) (Table 24)

Repeat offenders

Half (50%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders were proceeded against more than once in:
  • New South Wales (5,878 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders)
  • Queensland (8,755 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders)
  • Northern Territory (2,483 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders) (Table 25)

The Australian Capital Territory had the highest proportion of offenders proceeded against only once during the 2017–18 reference period (65% or 210 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders). (Table 25)


NON-INDIGENOUS OFFENDERS

Between 2016–17 and 2017–18, the number of non-Indigenous offenders proceeded against by police decreased in three out of the five states and territories for which Indigenous status data were available:
  • South Australia (down 9% or 1,728 non-Indigenous offenders)
  • Queensland (down 5% or 3,107 non-Indigenous offenders)
  • New South Wales (down less than 1% or 180 non-Indigenous offenders) (Table 22)

The number of non-Indigenous offenders recorded in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory remained relatively consistent (both up 1%, or 16 and 27 offenders, respectively). (Table 22)

Principal offence

The most common principal offences for non-Indigenous offenders in 2017–18 were Illicit drug offences and Acts intended to cause injury. Between 2016–17 and 2017–18, the number of offenders for both of these offences decreased across most states and territories. (Table 22)

Illicit drug offences decreased by:
  • 13% or 833 non-Indigenous offenders in South Australia
  • 22% or 85 non-Indigenous offenders in the Northern Territory
  • 9% or 1,957 non-Indigenous offenders in Queensland
  • 1% or 147 non-Indigenous offenders in New South Wales (Table 22)

The number of Illicit drug offenders in the Australian Capital Territory increased (up 26% or 92 offenders). (Table 22)

Acts intended to cause injury decreased by:
  • 6% or 35 offenders in the Australian Capital Territory
  • 2% or 154 offenders in Queensland
  • 2% or 76 offenders in South Australia
  • Less than 1% or 6 non-Indigenous offenders in New South Wales (Table 22)

The number of offenders of Acts intended to cause injury increased in the Northern Territory (up 13% or 48 offenders). (Table 22)

Sex

In 2017–18, the non-Indigenous male offender rate was three or more times the rate for female offenders at a ratio of:
  • 4 times more in the Northern Territory
  • 4 times more in New South Wales
  • 4 times more in the Australian Capital Territory
  • 4 times more in South Australia
  • 3 times more in Queensland (Table 24)

Repeat offenders

Non-Indigenous offenders were most likely to be proceeded against once in 2017–18. In the Australian Capital Territory, 83% of offenders (1,817) were proceeded against once during the reference period, which was the highest proportion across the states and territories. The lowest proportion was recorded in Queensland with 67% (or 41,971 offenders). (Table 25)

The number of non-Indigenous offenders proceeded against multiple times throughout the reference period decreased across almost all states and territories between 2016–17 and 2017–18:
  • Down 6% to 20,845 offenders in Queensland
  • Down 3% to 5,236 offenders in South Australia
  • Down 1% to 308 offenders in the Northern Territory
  • Down less than 1% to 18,691 offenders in New South Wales
  • Up 11% to 383 offenders in the Australian Capital Territory (Table 25)

New South Wales had the highest proportion (6%) of non-Indigenous offenders proceeded against five or more times in 2017–18 (3,871 offenders). (Table 25)