Report Highlights Indigenous Youth Plight
17 April 2014 at 12:47 pm
Young Indigenous Australians are 17 times more likely to be placed under youth justice supervision than non-Indigenous youth, according to a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report,Youth Justice in Australia 2012-13, indicates that while there was a small decrease of five per cent in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) young people under supervision in 2012-13 compared with the previous year, they are still significantly over-represented in the youth justice system.
Indigenous young people under supervision were also, on average, younger and more likely to complete multiple periods in supervision. They also spent longer (in total) under supervision during the year than non-Indigenous young people.
AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard said the continuing over-representation of ATSI young people who are under supervision was “of ongoing concern”.
This over-representation was also evident when considering where young people lived prior to their supervision, with those from very remote areas about six times as likely as those from major cities to be under youth justice supervision on an average day in 2012-13.
On the positive side, the report also reveals that the overall number and rate of young people under youth justice supervision has dropped in recent years.
It shows that on an average day in 2012-13, there were 6,329 young people under youth justice supervision due to their involvement, or alleged involvement, in crime. This was a drop of 1,000 (or 14 per cent) from a peak of 7,332 young people under youth justice supervision on an average day in 2010-11.
Similarly, in 2012-13 the rate of young people under supervision dropped to 23.8 per 10,000 (or 1 in 420) young people – down from a high of about 27.6 (or one in 360) in 2010-11.
The report presents information on young people aged 10-17 who were under youth justice supervision, both in the community and in detention, during 2012-13. It also examines trends over the preceding five-year period.
Beard said the overall decrease was mainly due to a fall in the number and rate of young people under community-based supervision and young males under supervision.
“These are the predominant groups under supervision,” Beard said. “On an average day about 85 per cent of young people were under community-based supervision (as opposed to detention), and over four in five were male.”
In contrast, the number and rate of young people in detention remained relatively stable, as did the rate of females under supervision overall.
The full report can be found here. A series of fact sheets including specific data at a jurisdictional level for New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory is also available. There are no fact sheets for Western Australia and the Northern Territory, as those jurisdictions did not meet nationally agreed minimum data requirements.