Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Catalogue Number
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
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  
Contents >> Law and Justice >> Contact with the law and justice system


LAW AND JUSTICE: CONTACT WITH THE LAW AND JUSTICE SYSTEM

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, 'children' refers to people aged 4–14 years. 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:
  • 17% of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth reported that they had been arrested in the last five years
  • youth who had been arrested in the last five years were more likely to have been a victim of physical violence and to have experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress than those who had not.

Contact with the criminal justice system is intertwined with other aspects of wellbeing. Those who have committed crimes may have already been struggling with issues such as financial difficulties, family problems, poor mental health or low self-esteem (Endnote 1). Moreover, being arrested or incarcerated can compound these issues and further affect wellbeing. The arrest and incarceration of a young person can also impact on a family as the family deals with the financial and emotional implications.

According to the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, one in six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (18,000 or 17%) had been arrested in the last five years. Of those young people who had been arrested:
  • 45% had been arrested once
  • 23% had been arrested twice
  • 30% had been arrested three or more times.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were more likely than those aged 25 years and over to have been arrested in the last five years (17% compared with 14%).

Young males were more than twice as likely as young females to have been arrested in the last five years (25% compared with 10%).

SPOTLIGHT: CHILDREN AND THE JUSTICE SYSTEM

In 2008, 10% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years had a member of their family who had been arrested or in trouble with the police in the last 12 months. Approximately 4% had a parent in prison, and 7% had a family member other than a parent in prison. Also, 3% of children had been in trouble with the police in the last 12 months.


CHARACTERISTICS OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN ARRESTED

Compared with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth, those who had been arrested were more likely to face difficult health, social and/or economic circumstances.

Youth who had been arrested in the last five years were more likely than those who had not to: Youth who had been arrested in the last five years were also less likely than those who had not been arrested to report their health as excellent or very good (49% and 60% respectively).

ENDNOTES
    1. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001, Measuring Wellbeing: Framework for Australian Social Statistics, cat. no. 4160.0, ABS, Canberra, <www.abs.gov.au> .


    Previous PageNext Page

    Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window


    Commonwealth of Australia 2014

    Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.