Policy

pattern

Safe families and communities and equitable justice outcomes

The number of family incidents with an Aboriginal affected family member or other party has begun to decline in recent years.

However, Aboriginal Victorians still face unequal outcomes within the justice system, and are over-represented in both the adult and youth justice systems.

Headline indicator 9: Reduce the incidence of Aboriginal family violence

Measure: The rate of reporting (Family Incident Reporting) of Aboriginal family violence to police.

Aboriginal Victorians remain over-represented in family incident reports (FIRs) as both affected family members and other parties. In the last five years, the total number of family incidents by other parties in Victoria increased from 63,127 in 2013 to 75,062 in 2017.

Despite making up less than 1% of the Victorian population, in 2017 Aboriginal people accounted for 4.7% (3,531 incidents) of other parties and 3.8% (2,852 incidents) of affected family members in FIRs.

Increases in the number of FIRs may not necessarily indicate an increased prevalence of family violence. There have been significant efforts in recent years by Victoria Police and the wider justice system to encourage the reporting of family violence.

Despite making up less than 1% of the Victorian population, in 2017 Aboriginal people accounted for 4.7% (3,531 incidents) of other parties and 3.8% (2,852 incidents) of affected family members in FIRs.

Headline indicator 10: Reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal people under justice supervision

Target: By 2031, close the gap in the rate of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people under youth justice supervision.

This target is not on track.

Aboriginal children and young people are 14 times more likely than non-Aboriginal young people to be under youth justice supervision.

The average daily number of Aboriginal children and young people aged 10-17 years under youth justice supervision (community based and detention) has decreased in recent years from 148 in 2011-12 to 132 in 2016-17.

Aboriginal children and young people are 14 times more likely than non Aboriginal young people to be under youth justice supervision.Measure: The rate of over-representation of Aboriginal young people (10-17 years) processed by police.

Between 2007 and 2017, the number of unique Aboriginal youth alleged offenders processed by police fell by 24.7%, from 664 to 500; the lowest number recorded in the last 10 years.

During the same period, the number of unique non-Aboriginal youth alleged offenders fell by more than half to 4,831—also the lowest number recorded in the last 10 years.

While the overall number of Aboriginal young people offending has fallen, the decline has been greater for non-Aboriginal young people.

In 2017, Aboriginal young people were over-represented in unique alleged offender statistics at a rate of 6.5 times that of non-Aboriginal young people.

Between 2007 and 2017, the number of unique Aboriginal youth alleged offenders processed by police fell by 24.7%, from 664 to 500; the lowest number recorded in the last 10 years.

Measure: The proportion of Aboriginal young people (aged 10-17 years) cautioned when processed by police.

Police cautioning is typically available to first time and non-serious offenders and is an important method of diversion.

In 2017, a caution or warning was issued for 28.2% of unique alleged offender incidents for Aboriginal young people aged 10-17 years, compared to 43.5% for unique non-Aboriginal alleged offender incidents.

The proportion of all young alleged offenders receiving a caution or warning has decreased from 61.3% in 2006 to 42.6% in 2017.

In 2017, a caution or warning was issued for 28.2% of unique alleged offender incidents for Aboriginal young people aged 10 17 years, compared to 43.5% for unique non Aboriginal alleged offender incidents.Target: By 2031, close the gap in the rate of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people under adult justice supervision.

This target is not on track.

Aboriginal adults are nearly 12 times more likely than non?Aboriginal adults to be under justice supervision.

Between 2007-08 and 2016-17, the average daily number of Aboriginal people under justice supervision increased from 590 to 1,495.

Aboriginal adults are nearly 12 times more likely than non Aboriginal adults to be under justice supervision.

Measure: The proportion of Aboriginal adults under justice supervision receiving a prison sentence compared with those receiving a community corrections order.

On an average day in 2016-17, 38.3% of Aboriginal adults under justice supervision were in prison and 61.7% were on community corrections orders (CCOs). For the non-Aboriginal population under justice supervision, 32.8% were in prison and 67.2% were on CCOs.

On an average day in 2016-17, 38.3% of Aboriginal adults under justice supervision were in prison and 61.7% were on community corrections orders (CCOs). For the non-Aboriginal population under justice supervision, 32.8% were in prison and 67.2% were on CCOs.

Headline indicator 11: Reduce the proportion of Aboriginal Victorians who return to prison within two years of release

Target: By 2031, close the gap in the proportion of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Victorians who are convicted within two years of their previous conviction.

Results are mixed.

Over half (53.4%) of all Aboriginal people released from prison in 2014-15 had returned within two years compared to 42.8% of non-Aboriginal prisoners.

While the Aboriginal recidivism rate has remained stable, the gap has narrowed in the last 10 years due to an increase in recidivism among non-Aboriginal prisoners.  

Over half (53.4%) of all Aboriginal people released from prison in 2014-15 had returned within two years compared to 42.8% of non-Aboriginal prisoners.

Victorian Government reform

The Victorian Government is committed to increasing Aboriginal community control over programs across the family violence and justice systems, and is guided by principles of self?determination and cultural strengthening.

The Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement (AJA) aims to minimise Aboriginal over-representation in the criminal justice system by improving the accessibility, use and effectiveness of justice-related programs and services. The fourth stage of the AJA, Burra Lotjpa Dunguludja, was released in 2018.

The AJA is delivered via a multi-layered structure of partnerships between the Victorian Government and the Aboriginal community, including:

  • the Aboriginal Justice Forum (AJF)
  • the Aboriginal Justice Caucus of the AJF
  • the Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee network
  • the Local Aboriginal Justice Action Committee network
  • Aboriginal community organisations.

A landmark strategy is being developed in partnership with the Aboriginal community through the AJA to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal young people in youth justice. This includes providing greater targeted supports for Aboriginal young people in custody, and early intervention initiatives to reduce their risk of entering the youth justice system.

In addition, a new Aboriginal Youth Justice Taskforce led by the Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People is being established, which will identify opportunities to improve cultural responsiveness and effectiveness in reducing Aboriginal over-representation.

The Aboriginal 10 Year Family Violence Agreement 2018-2028, Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families is a shared commitment between Aboriginal communities, services and government. It outlines the collective responsibility to work together to improve the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal Victorians so that they can live free from family violence.

This will support the critical work of the Dhelk Dja Action Groups and the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum (formerly Indigenous Family Violence Partnership Forum).

The Victorian Government is also working to implement all 227 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, with Aboriginal people, communities and organisations at the centre of the reform process.

This includes specific recommendations to strengthen family violence and healing services for Aboriginal people, and support for Aboriginal-led family violence prevention initiatives.