Juvenile diversion and Indigenous offenders : a study examining juvenile offenders in Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales
- January 2008
- Criminology Research Council (consultancy report) ; (C02/06-07)
- Download report (PDF 164kB)
This study was motivated by a concern that Indigenous juvenile offenders were not receiving the benefits of diversionary schemes. Its aim was to assess how much of a difference in the rate of diversion between Indigenous and non-Indigenous offenders remained after adjusting for offender characteristics and other factors. A series of logistic regression models were developed to see whether the likelihood of diversion was influenced by an individual's Indigenous status, after controlling for a range of offence and offender characteristics. Diversion was modelled as both a dichotomous variable (diversion/non-diversion) and as an ordered variable (in order: Caution, Conference, Court). The data to construct the models was obtained from Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales. Diversion was defined as either a police or court referred conference or a formal police caution, while non-diversion was defined as a court appearance. The results were as follows: in all three states, Indigenous offenders were diverted at a lower rate than non-Indigenous offenders; when controls were included for age, sex, current offence characteristics and prior history, this discrepancy in rates of diversion reduced, but remained significant and relatively strong; Indigenous offenders were found to be more likely to have had previous contact with the justice system and a larger number of prior contacts. The report concludes that in order to reduce the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous rates of diversion, it would be useful to address the high rate of Indigenous juvenile offending.