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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Young Indigenous people continue to be overrepresented in youth justice system

Date posted: 1 May 2013

A report, Youth justice in Australia 2011-12: an overview, by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released information on young people aged 10-17 years who are under youth justice supervision in Australia due to their involvement or alleged involvement in crime.

According to the report, on an average day, in 2011-12, almost 7,000 young people are under youth justice supervision, equal to a rate of 1 in every 385 young people. Of these, almost 6,000 (86%) young people were supervised in the community and the remaining 1,000 (14%) were in detention.

'Some young people experienced more than one supervision period during the year, and when all the time spent under supervision during 2011-12 is considered, young people spent an average of about six months, or 185 days under supervision,' said AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard. Most young people involved in the youth justice system were male (83%), and the majority (79%) were aged 14-17 years.

'Of concern is that Indigenous young people remain overrepresented,' Mr Beard said. 'Although less than 5% of young Australians are Indigenous, 39% of those under supervision in 2011-12 were Indigenous.' This proportion was higher in detention, where almost half (48%) were Indigenous.

Indigenous young people under supervision were younger on average, than non-Indigenous young people and more likely to have lived in areas of lowest socioeconomic status before entering supervision than non-Indigenous young people. Young people from remote areas were almost four times as likely to be under supervision as those from major cities (63 per 10,000 compared with 17 per 10,000).

Nationally, the rates of young people aged 10-17 years under supervision remained relatively stable over the four years from 2008 to 2012 both in community-based supervision and detention. However, data for Western Australia and the Northern Territory are not included in state and territory comparisons.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Youth justice in Australia 2011–12: an overview


Mr Tim Beard
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Ph: (02) 6244 1270
Mobile: 0418 271 395


Last updated: 1 May 2013
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