18 March 2019

Crimes causing injury top ACT offences while female and indigenous offenders increase

| Glynis Quinlan
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Acts intended to cause injury such as assaults made up the biggest number of offences in the ACT in 2017-18.

New official crime figures show that acts intended to cause injury made up the biggest number of offences in the ACT in 2017-18, and that the number of female and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders has increased.

However, the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for the past financial year show the number of offenders in the ACT has dropped slightly compared to the previous year (by 1 per cent) and the ACT continues to have the lowest offender rate across all states and territories.

There were 2,725 offenders in the ACT in 2017-18 according to the latest ABS figures (for offenders aged 10 and over), with 693 offenders (25 per cent) committing an act intended to cause injury such as an assault.

A total of 506 people carried out illicit drug offences – representing 19 per cent of offences – while 432 people carried out public order offences (16 per cent).

The ABS data shows that illicit drug offences in the ACT have more than doubled since 2008-09 – increasing from 239 offenders at that time to 506 offenders in 2017-18. Illicit drug offences include possession or use of drugs as well as the more serious offences of dealing, trafficking, or manufacturing.

In 2017–18, the male offender rate in the ACT was 3.5 times higher than the female offender rate but the number of female offenders had increased by 14 per cent over the previous year – from 542 offenders to 620 offenders.

In contrast, the number of male offenders decreased by 5 per cent in 2017-18 – from 2,218 offenders to 2,100 offenders.

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders in the ACT also rose in 2017-18 – with an increase of 7 per cent or 20 people. This was in contrast to the situation in Queensland, South Australia and NSW where there was a decrease in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders.

There were 321 youth offenders in the ACT in 2017-18 or a rate of 870 offenders per 100,000 people. Acts intended to cause injury represented the most common principal offence recorded for youth offenders.

The ABS data for 2017-18 also shows that there were 591 offenders proceeded against for family and domestic violence-related offences in the ACT or 164 offenders per 100,000 people.

The median age of these offenders was 33 and there were four times more male offenders (480) than female offenders (109).

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