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Violence in Indigenous communities

Crime facts info no. 139

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, January 2007

Family violence is a problem in all sectors of Australian society, with particular attention recently being given to its occurrence in remote Indigenous communities. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, Family violence among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, draws on data from the 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, in which approximately 9,400 Indigenous Australians aged 15 years and older participated. Among other questions, the survey asked whether Indigenous people saw violence as a problem in their communities, and what kind of violence this was. As the figure below demonstrates, survey participants living in remote areas were around three times more likely to regard assault, sexual assault and family violence as community problems than those living in non-remote areas. In remote areas, 41 percent of Indigenous people viewed assault and family violence as a community problem and 17 percent viewed sexual assault as a problem (12%, 14% and 5% respectively in non-remote communities).

Indigenous people reporting assault, sexual assault and family violence as problems for their community, 2002 (percent)

Indigenous people reporting assault, sexual assault and family violence as problems for their community, 2002 (percent)

Source: Al-Yaman F, Van Doeland M & Wallis M 2006: 42