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4725.0 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth, Apr 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/05/2012  Reissue
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Contents >> Law and Justice >> Safety and security


LAW AND JUSTICE: SAFETY AND SECURITY

This article is part of a comprehensive series released as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth.


Note: In this section, the terms 'youth' and 'young people' refer to people aged 15–24 years. Data presented are from the ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 (cat. no. 4714.0).

KEY MESSAGES

In 2008:
  • 93% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth felt safe home alone during the day and 75% felt safe home alone after dark
  • 68% of young males and 31% of young females reported feeling safe or very safe in all three of the following situations: at home alone during the day, at home alone during the night, and when walking alone in their local area at night
  • 69% of youth reported one or more problems in their neighbourhood/community.

Feeling safe and secure at home is important in providing a stable foundation to overall wellbeing. Concerns over safety can impact on family relationships, participation in education and employment opportunities, as well as feelings of social inclusion. Wellbeing can also be affected by concerns over safety within the surrounding neighbourhood, with feelings of safety in the neighbourhood linked to better mental and physical health outcomes (Endnote 1).

PERSONAL SAFETY

People's perceptions of their personal safety can affect their feelings about their community and their participation in community activities. It can also affect their access to community services (Endnote 2).

Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in 2008:
  • 93% felt safe home alone during the day
  • 75% felt safe home alone after dark
  • 52% felt safe walking alone in a local area after dark.
Overall, 68% of young males and 31% of young females reported feeling safe in all three of the above situations.

Significantly, more young males (89%) than females (61%) felt safe or very safe at home alone after dark. Young males were also more likely than young females to feel safe at home alone during the day and walking alone after dark.

1.1 FEELING SAFE OR VERY SAFE WHEN ALONE, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 15–24 years—2008
Graph: Feeling Safe or Very Safe When Alone: Males and Females aged 15–24 years
(a) Difference between males and females is statistically significant.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey

In most cases, there was no significant difference in feelings of safety between youth in remote and non-remote areas. However, young females in remote areas were more likely than those in non-remote areas to report feeling safe walking alone in their local area after dark (45% compared with 31%).

NEIGHBOURHOOD/COMMUNITY PROBLEMS

In 2008, over two-thirds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth (69%) were aware of problems in their neighbourhood or community.

In non-remote areas, 67% of young people were aware of neighbourhood or community problems and the most commonly reported problems were:
    • dangerous/noisy driving (42%)
    • theft (40%)
    • alcohol (40%).
In remote areas, 73% of young people perceived problems in their neighbourhood or community, the most commonly reported problems being:
    • alcohol (54%)
    • illegal drugs (39%)
    • dangerous/noisy driving (38%).
1.2 REPORTED NEIGHBOURHOOD PROBLEMS (a)(b), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 15–24 years—2008

Types of neighbourhood problems
Non-remote
Remote
Total

%
%
%
Alcohol
(c)39.7
(c)54.0
42.8
Dangerous/noisy driving
42.3
37.7
41.3
Theft
40.1
36.4
39.3
Vandalism
38.3
35.8
37.7
Illegal drugs
36.3
39.2
37.0
Problems involving youth (e.g. youth gangs)
31.8
36.9
32.9
Family violence
(c)19.8
(c)31.7
22.5
Assault (including sexual assault)
(c)19.3
(c)35.3
22.9
Loiterers
17.0
17.2
17.1
Other problems (b)
22.9
28.7
24.2
No problems reported
29.4
23.5
28.1

(a) Respondents could identify more than one type of problem in their community.
(b) Includes problems with neighbours, neighbourhood conflict and personal safety.
(c) Difference between non-remote and remote areas is statistically significant.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey

In remote areas, 34% of young people who reported problems in their neighbourhoods were satisfied or very satisfied with the way their local government handled these problems, compared with 25% of those in non-remote areas.


ENDNOTES

1 Ziersch A.M., Baum F.E., MacDougall C., & Putland C. 2005, 'Neighbourhood life and social capital: The implications for health', Social Science and Medicine, 60 (1), pp. 71-86.

2 Australian Social Inclusion Board 2009, A compendium of social inclusion indicators, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.


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