Community safety in Australian Indigenous communities : service providers? perceptions


This report on the development of a community safety survey arose from a need for a greater level of awareness about the behaviours and circumstances that affect community safety and the services available to communities to deal with them. Some of the initiatives being taken by Indigenous Australians to respond to their safety concerns and to identify community priorities and needs are identified. The perceptions of service providers, who often work with the people affected by safety problems and contribute to resolutions, are a valuable way of building this knowledge. While service provider respondents felt safe in most situations, they were concerned about their safety at night and the safety of others in the community, particularly female children and young people. The report highlights the challenges that exist for Indigenous Australians in being able to make use of available services that can lead to real gains in community safety. Victims of crime need to be confident they can go to police for help without fear of retribution and further victimisation. Children need to go to school and not have their education affected by the consequences of behaviours like family violence, alcohol use and gambling. The report also points to the desire for community-based services targeting specific needs, such as men’s places and community patrols that can play a vital role in preventing unsafe behaviours from occurring or minimise the impacts on victims. The project has produced a questionnaire and methodology for use by Indigenous organisations, service agencies and policymakers. Together with the draft guidelines included in the report, these tools can help create an evidence base for developing initiatives that build on the resilience and capacity in Indigenous communities.

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© Australian Institute of Criminology 2010 ISSN 1836-2060 (Print) 1836-2079 (Online) ISBN 978 1 921532 72 6 (Print) 978 1 921532 73 3 (Online) Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), no part of this publication may in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, microcopying, photocopying, recording or otherwise) be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted without prior written permission. Inquiries should be addressed to the publisher.