Skip to start of content

HomeReports →Juvenile diversion and Indigenous offenders

Juvenile diversion and Indigenous offenders : a study examining juvenile offenders in Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales


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.

Related links

If you see this message you are probably using an old browser: these pages should be readable, but we recommend updating to a modern browser.