|Author||Bryant, Colleen; Willis, Matthew J|
|Source/Publisher||Australian Institute of Criminology|
It is widely acknowledged is that Indigenous Australians experience violent victimisation at markedly higher rates than other Australians. However, as in all communities, some individuals, even within the same group, face a greater risk of victimisation than others. Identifying which individuals, families or communities are at risk, and under what circumstances, is essential to implement effective preventative (e.g. night patrol, family counselling) and, in some cases, reactive (e.g. hospital services, child protection services) strategies. The ability to do this relies on having already established accurate predictive risk factors. This paper draws on existing studies and data from surveys, service providers and the criminal justice system to examine how victimisation rates for specific types of violence vary with demographic, psychological, sociological and cultural factors within the Indigenous population, and how these are similar to or different from those observed in mainstream society. In many instances, the factors associated with increased risk of violent victimisation among Indigenous people are similar to those associated with increased risk among non-Indigenous populations; broad socioeconomic indicators such as marital status, level of income, residential stability and employment status are significant predictors of victimisation in both groups. Nevertheless, violent victimisation in Indigenous communities does appear to differ; Indigenous females are disproportionately affected, particularly by family violence, and patterns of violence appear to be more strongly linked to alcohol use patterns. High rates of victimisation are ultimately linked with factors that collectively may result from or reflect compromised levels of functioning, both inherent and external to the victim, including a high stress environment, unemployment, high alcohol use, high housing mobility and high levels of violence. While this study demonstrates that it is possible to piece together victimisation risk factors from existing qualitative and quantitative studies, it also highlights that caution is required. The ability to identify sufficiently predictive risk factors remains constrained by the level of detail provided in existing surveys and datasets. Of particular importance is identifying how risk is elevated or ameliorated at community, local and regional levels by unique environmental or cultural factors, and how to implement localised prevention strategies.
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