Crime, justice and social capital in the Torres Strait region

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While there has been much research into Indigenous crime and justice, previous research draws largely on Aboriginal peoples, who are culturally distinct from Torres Strait Islanders.

The Torres Strait region offers a unique opportunity to observe how justice is practised in remote contexts. Through statistical analysis and qualitative fieldwork, this study documents crime rates, community and customary justice practices and impediments to justice, to identify best practices unique to the Torres Strait region.

Crime-report data indicate relatively low rates of crime in the Torres Strait region. While under-reporting and under-policing can partly explain these differences, strong levels of social capital, as well as unique justice practices, also play important roles in preventing crime in the region.