Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status of alleged offender incidents

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status for alleged offender incidents are based on the most frequent recording of the Indigenous status for each offender.

Under this counting rule, a person has either a yes or no response to the Standard Indigenous Question on their record, then the most frequently appearing response is taken as correct. If the person only has one meaningful response (‘yes’ or ‘no’), then that response stands across all records. If a person appears in the dataset two different times with a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ in the records, a ‘yes’ response is taken over a ‘no’ response. For more information on how this counting rule operates please see the Explanatory notes.

3.1 Key movements in the number of alleged offender incidents by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status

 

Apr 2012 - Mar 2013

Apr 2013 - Mar 2014

Apr 2014 - Mar 2015

Apr 2015 - Mar 2016

Apr 2016 - Mar 2017

% change 2016 - 2017

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

7,774

8,987

9,072

10,102

11,428

13.1%

Non-Indigenous

116,933

128,088

123,287

128,717

138,721

7.8%

Unknown

16,458

20,063

22,172

25,723

30,985

20.5%

Total

141,165

157,138

154,531

164,542

181,134

10.1%

 

In the year ending March 2017 there were 11,428 alleged offender incidents relating to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people. This represented an increase of 13.1% (1,326 incidents) from the previous year, and made up 6.3% of all alleged offender incidents recorded in the year ending March 2017.

In the same period, non-Indigenous alleged offender incidents increased by 7.8% from 128,717 to 138,721, and proportionally comprised 76.6% of all alleged offender incidents. There were 30,985 alleged offender incidents where the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status was unknown, an increase of 20.5% on the previous year. This now makes up 17.1% of alleged offender incidents in the year ending March 2017.

There were 3,410 unique Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offenders recorded for offender incidents by police in the year ending March 2017, up 4.6% from 3,261 in the previous year. By comparison, there were 61,740 unique non-Indigenous offenders, up 1.8% from 60,657 in the previous year. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offenders on average were involved in 3.2 incidents per offender, compared to the state average of 2.1 incidents per offender.

While the number of unique Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offenders has remained relatively stable over the past five years, the average number of incidents per offender has increased from 2.4 to 3.2 incidents per offender. There were 17,478 unique offenders with an unknown Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status in the year ending March 2017, up 15.7% from 15,110 in the previous year.

Alleged offender incidents by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status, April 2012 to March 2017

 

3.2 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status of alleged offenders by age

When comparing Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous offenders by age, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offenders had a higher proportion of younger offenders compared to non-Indigenous offenders. In the year ending March 2017, 43.2% (4,931) of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offenders were aged between 10 and 24, compared to 32.0% (44,374) of non-Indigenous offenders.

For Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offender incidents, the age group with the highest proportion of offenders was 15–19 years, which made up 20.5% of all Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offender incidents. The highest proportion of non-Indigenous offenders were aged between 25–29 years, and comprised 16.7% of all non-Indigenous offenders.

Alleged offender incidents by Indigenous status and age, April 2016 to March 2017

 

The age distribution for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander persons varies in comparison to non-Indigenous populations in Australia.  On average, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander persons tend to be younger than the non-Indigenous population. For these statistics, the CSA has not controlled for these differing age populations. 

3.3 Sex and age of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander alleged offenders

In the year ending March 2017 there were 8,380 incidents involving a male Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offender, making up 73.3% of all Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offenders, while 3,040 incidents involved a female Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offender, making up 26.6% of all Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offenders. The remaining Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offenders had an unknown sex recorded.

The highest proportion of male Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offenders were aged between 15–19 years, with this group making up 22.0% of all male Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offender incidents. Females tended to be older, with the highest proportion aged 25–29 years, making up 18.4% of female Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander alleged offenders.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander alleged offenders by sex and age, April 2016 to March 2017

The number of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander alleged offender incidents involving a male increased in the year ending March 2017 by 17.0% (1,218 incidents) from the previous year. Incidents involving a female alleged offender increased by 4.0% (118 incidents) from the previous year.

Males aged between 15 and 29 years of age accounted for just over half of all male Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander alleged offenders in the year ending March 2017 (53.6% or 4,492 incidents). For female offenders, a similar proportion (49.9% or 1,518 incidents) were also between 15 and 29 years of age.

3.4 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander alleged offender incidents by principal offence

In order to best represent the type of offence associated with an incident involving multiple offences, the most serious offence within an incident is determined and this becomes the principal offence to represent the incident.

By principal offence, the category that made up the largest proportion of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offender incidents was Property and deception offences. These offences made up 48.4% (5,534 incidents) of all Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander alleged offender incidents, a 24.2% (1,080 incidents) increase from the previous year.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander alleged offender incidents by principal offence, April 2014 to March 2017

 

In the past three years, the number of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander alleged offender incidents with a principal offence of Crimes against the person has been steadily increasing. In the year ending March 2017, Crimes against the person made up 23.6% of all Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offender incidents.

Property and deception offences increased from 3,602 in the year ending March 2015 to 5,534 in the year ending March 2017, an increase of more than 50% over the period. The increases were driven mainly by increases in Theft and Burglary/break and enter offences, which comprise 76.2% of offences in the Property and deception offences category in the year ending March 2017.

Incidents involving Justice procedures offences dropped to 1,616 in the year ending March 2017, a 2.5% decrease on the previous year. Drug offences increased by 9.4% in the year ending March 2017 to 466 incidents. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offender incidents with a principal offence of Public order and security offences have remained constant in the last 12 months.

3.5 Outcome

As at 18 April 2017, over half (51.5% or 5,889) of all Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander alleged offender incidents resulted in an Arrest, while 2,654 (23.2%) resulted in a Summons and 1,724 (15.1%) in an Intent to Summons. There were 405 (3.5%) alleged offender incidents that led to a Caution or Official warning being issued.

An Intent to Summons is an interim investigation status and is not necessarily the final outcome of an incident. As the data is captured at a point in time, the investigation status of each incident is subject to change.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander alleged offender incidents by status of investigation, April 2016 to March 2017

Other includes: Penalty infringement notice, not authorised, warrant issued, notice to appear, presentment and other statuses.

3.6 Family incident related Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander alleged offender incidents

A family incident related offender is counted each time Victoria Police complete an L17 form and a criminal offence is recorded against an offender. The following graph highlights the number of alleged offender incidents that were related to a family incident and those that weren’t over the past five years.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander alleged offender incidents by family incident flag, April 2012 to March 2017

 

In the year ending March 2017, 19.5% (2,232 offender incidents) of the 11,428 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander alleged offender incidents recorded in the year were related to a family incident, while the other 80.5% (9,195) were not related to a family incident.

For the family related Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander alleged offender incidents, more than half (54.1% or 1,207) had a principal offence of Crimes against the person

Author
Crime Statistics Agency, 2017
Publisher
Crime Statistics Agency, 2017
Date of Publication

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