Indigenous communities and sexual assault bibliography

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Australians' attitudes to violence against women: full technical report : findings from the 2013 National Community Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS)
WebsterK, Pennay D, Bricknall R, Diemer K, Flood M, Powell A, Politoff V and Ward A
Carlton South, Vic. : VicHealth, 2014.

The third National Community Attitudes Survey Towards Violence Against Women survey was held in Australia in 2013, with 17,517 adults aged over 16 participating. This technical report provides supplementary material to the main report, including methodological and theoretical details, and presents the findings in greater detail. The survey was was commissioned by the Department of Social Services and undertaken by VicHealth in collaboration with the Social Research Centre and The University of Melbourne. The report discusses the role of gender equality in violence prevention; community knowledge of violence against women; violence supportive attitudes and beliefs; community responses to domestic violence, preparedness to intervene, and the attitudes of people born in non-main English speaking countries, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and people with a disability. Further information is included in the main stakeholder report, the research summary, and the youth report.

Responding to Indigenous Australian sexual assault : a systematic review of the literature.
McCalman J, Bridge F, Whiteside M, Bainbridge R, Tsey K and Jongen C
Sage Open v. 4 no. 1 Jan/Mar 2014 doi 10.1177/2158244013518931

This article reviews the literature on improving responses to sexual assault in Indigenous communities in Australia. It sort research studies on the type and effectiveness of different policies and programs, and any key learnings for best practice. The review insufficient evidence to confidently direct practice or policies.

Restorative justice in the Australian criminal justice system
Joudo J
Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 2014.

"In 2001, Heather Strang prepared a report for the Criminology Research Council summarising restorative justice programs in Australia. Since that time, restorative justice practices have become mainstream in Australian juvenile justice and have been extended for use with adult offenders. The question, 'does it work?' is asked of all interventions in the criminal justice field and is most often answered by assessing the impact on reoffending. On this point, the evidence for restorative justice remains mixed. However, the literature is replete with reports of high levels of victim satisfaction and feelings that the process is fair. Further, while some significant issues remain, research conducted to date consistently demonstrates that restorative justice programs work at least as well as formal criminal justice responses. The purpose of this report is twofold; to describe and provide an overview of restorative justice programs in Australia in order to build on Heather Strang's 2001 review and provide an assessment of current and future issues facing restorative justice practice. "--Publisher abstract.

The health of Australia's prisoners 2012
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2013.

Prisoners have far greater health needs than the general population, with high levels of mental health disorders, illicit substance use, chronic disease, communicable disease and disability. Mental health disorders and harmful drug use are particularly prevalent in the prisoner population with only about one-quarter of prisoners having neither problem. This report is the third in a biannual series on indicators of prisoner health in Australia. It presents data from a survey of 794 prison entrants, over 4,000 prisoners attending prison health clinics, about 9,000 prisoners who took medication, and 387 prison dischargees, regarding their socioeconomic background, mental health before and while in prison, self-harm, communicable diseases, chronic conditions, women's health, drug and alcohol use before and while in prison, unprotected sex, assaults and sexual assault, use of health services, and deaths in custody. Information is also provided on Indigenous Australian prisoners, international comparisons, and prison services.

Recorded crime - victims, Australia 2012.
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Sydney, NSW : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013.

This report presents statistics on the victims of crime in Australia in 2012, as recorded by police in each state and territory. Data is provided for murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, assault, sexual assault, kidnapping and abduction, robbery and extortion, unlawful entry, and theft. Information is also included for selected offences on the nature of the incident and the outcome of police investigations at 30 days, as well as victim characteristics including age, sex, relationship to the offender, and Indigenous status.

Recorded crime - victims, Australia 2011.
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Sydney, NSW : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012.

This report presents statistics on the victims of crime in Australia in 2011, as recorded by police in each state and territory. Data is provided for murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, assault, sexual assault, kidnapping and abduction, robbery and extortion, unlawful entry, and theft. Information is also included for selected offences on the nature of the incident and the outcome of police investigations at 30 days, as well as victim characteristics including age, sex, relationship to the offender, and Indigenous status.

Exposure to traumatic events, prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder and alcohol abuse in Aboriginal communities.
Nadew G
Rural and Remote Health v. 12 no. 4 Oct/Dec 2012: Article 1667

Generations of Aboriginal people have been exposed to strings of traumatic events with devastating psychosocial health consequences, including psychiatric morbidities and mortalities, and medical complications. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric morbidity directly linked to traumatic events. Despite research findings indicating traumatic exposure and resultant PTSD in Indigenous communities, little attention has been given to this condition in mental healthcare delivery. The objective of this study is to explore the relationship between exposure to traumatic events, prevalence of PTSD and alcohol abuse in remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia. A combination of structured clinical interview and multiple survey questionnaires were administered to 221 Indigenous participants aged 18 to 65 years. The overwhelming majority, 97.3% (n=215) of participants were exposed to traumatic events. Analysis of CIDI results using DSM-IV diagnostic criteria shows a life time prevalence of 55.2% (n=122) for PTSD, 20% (n=44) for major depression (recurrent) and 2.3% (n=5) for a single episode. A total of 96% (n=212) participants reported consuming a drink containing alcohol and 73.8% (n=163) met diagnostic criteria for alcohol use related disorders, abuse and dependence. Of participants who met the PTSD diagnostic criteria, 91% (n=111) met diagnostic criteria for alcohol use related disorders. Other impacts of trauma such as other anxiety disorders, dysthymic disorder and substances abuses were also identified. The rate of exposure to traumatic events and prevalence of PTSD are disproportionately higher in the communities studied than the national average and one of the highest recorded in survivors of specific traumatic events in the world. A very high rate of alcohol abuse and dependence in participants who met diagnostic criteria for PTSD demonstrates correlation between alcohol abuse and PTSD. It also suggests that alcohol is used as self-medication. (Journal article, edited)

Non-disclosure of violence in Australian Indigenous communities
Willis M
Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 2011.

Violent crime statistics drawn from police data do not show the large amount of violent crime and victimisation that is never disclosed to police. Within this 'dark figure of crime' are human experiences that can leave victims without help and support, perpetrators not coming to justice and cycles of violence continuing unbroken. This paper explores some of the reasons for the high rates of non-disclosure of violence in Indigenous communities. It begins by examining reasons for non-disclosure in the broader Australian community before discussing how factors specific to Indigenous Australians influence individual decisions to disclose violence. As well as using Australian and international literature to build an understanding of why people choose not to disclose, the paper uses scenarios developed by the Australian Crime Commission from their work with Indigenous communities to illustrate the circumstances in which these choices are made. The paper concludes by considering ways of encouraging disclosure through services, training and education and community responses. It emphasises the need to locate these within broader efforts to address the cycles of intergenerational violence that can so heavily impact the lives of Indigenous Australians. (Publisher abstract)

Recorded crime - victims, Australia 2010.
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Sydney, NSW : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011.

This report presents statistics on the victims of crime in Australia in 2010. The information is taken from police data in each state and territory, where recorded, and supplemented with the National Crime and Safety Survey. Statistics include victimisation rates, victim characteristics, age and sex, victimisation in each state and territory, location of crime, use of weapons in crime, outcomes of police investigations at 30 days, relationship of offender to victim, and Indigenous victims of crime. Data is included where available for robbery, assault, sexual assault, homicide, attempted murder, manslaughter, kidnapping and abduction, blackmail and extortion, driving causing death, break ins, attempted break ins, unlawful entry, and motor vehicle theft.

Recorded crime - offenders, Australia 2009-10.
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011.

This report presents statistics on offenders in Australia, for the 2009/2010 year. It includes statistics recorded by police for offenders who were proceeded against by police during this period, for all states and territories. Statistics include: offender rates, principal offence, young offenders, age and sex, repeat offenders, Indigenous offenders, and police proceedings and court actions. Principal offences listed are homicide, acts intended to cause injury, sexual assault, dangerous and negligent acts, robbery and extortion, unlawful entry with intent, theft, deception, illicit drugs, weapons and explosives, property damage, public order offences, and offences against justice. The report also describes the criminal justice system in Australia and data collection issues.

Recorded crime - offenders, Australia 2008-09.
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010.

This report presents statistics on offenders in Australia, for the 2008/2009 year. It includes statistics recorded by police for offenders who were proceeded against by police during this period, for all states and territories. Statistics include: offender rates, principal offence, young offenders, age and sex, repeat offenders, Indigenous offenders, and police proceedings and court actions. Principal offences listed are homicide, acts intended to cause injury, sexual assault, dangerous and negligent acts, robbery and extortion, unlawful entry with intent, theft, deception, illicit drugs, weapons and explosives, property damage, public order offences, and offences against justice. The report also describes the criminal justice system in Australia and data collection issues.

Recorded crime - victims, Australia 2009.
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Sydney, NSW : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010.

This report presents statistics on the victims of crime in Australia in 2009. The information is taken from police data in each state and territory, where recorded, and supplemented with the National Crime and Safety Survey. Statistics include victimisation rates, victim characteristics, age and sex, victimisation in each state and territory, location of crime, use of weapons in crime, outcomes of police investigations at 30 days, relationship of offender to victim, and Indigenous victims of crime. Data is included where available for robbery, assault, sexual assault, homicide, attempted murder, kidnapping and abduction, blackmail and extortion, driving causing death, break ins, attempted break ins, unlawful entry, and motor vehicle theft, with comparisons from 2000.

Community safety in Australian Indigenous communities : service providers' perceptions
Willis M
Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 2010.

This study investigates measures and perceptions of safety in Indigenous communities in Australia. It details the development of a questionnaire designed to capture perceptions of community safety in Indigenous communities, which is hoped will be utilised by organisations and service providers in their work. It also presents findings from a survey of 159 workers from service providers in remote, regional, and urban areas. The results presented are intended to be illustrative, rather than representative, and include community strengths; crime and social problems - such as overcrowding, alcohol misuse, school attendance, and domestic violence; community services available; perceived safety of personnel/respondent; reasons for feeling safe or unsafe; perceived safety of Indigenous people, by age group and gender; times and places considered unsafe; community safety initiatives; perceived level of need for change; crime reporting and disclosure by victims; and who victims of violence turn to for support, for men, women, children, and female sexual assault victims.

Strengthening on-the-ground service provision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims/survivors of family violence and sexual assault in Victoria. (PDF)
Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention & Legal Service (Victoria)
Collingwood, Vic. : Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria, 2010.

This series of policy papers examine how legal services and justice can be improved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children who are the victims of family violence or sexual assault. This second paper looks at how legal services can be improved in Victoria. Topics include: key issues, service access and barriers, holistic service delivery, Victoria Legal Aid services, services for children, after-hours and crisis support, coordination of law and justice service providers, the integrated family violence strategy, counselling and therapeutic services, sexual assault, women in prison, services for male victims, cultural awareness training, staffing, community legal education, early intervention and prevention, and a women's cultural retreat.

Strengthening law and justice outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims/survivors of family violence and sexual assault and women and children : national policy issues - a Victorian perspective. (PDF)
Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention & Legal Service (Victoria)
Collingwood, Vic. : Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria, 2010.

This series of policy papers examine how legal services and justice can be improved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children who are the victims of family violence or sexual assault. Based on the Victorian experience, the first paper makes recommendations for a national approach to reform. It discusses background issues, current services and authorities, and funding issues.

Improving accessibility of the legal system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims/survivors of family violence and sexual assault. (PDF)
Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention & Legal Service (Victoria)
Collingwood, Vic. : Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria, 2010.

This series of policy papers examine how legal services and justice can be improved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children who are the victims of family violence or sexual assault. This third paper looks at improving accessibility to legal services in Victoria. Topics include: accessibility and the family law system, barriers and entry points, child protection, intervention orders, victims assistance, serving as witnesses in court, police responses and processes, and restorative justice.

Sexual violence and Indigenous victims: women, children and the criminal justice system (PDF)
University of New South Wales. Indigenous Law Centre
Sydney : Indigenous Law Centre, 2010.

This paper introduces new research by the Indigenous Law Centre on the experiences of Indigenous victims of sexual violence in the criminal justice system in Australia. The first phase will examine the way Indigenous female and child victims are dealt with by the courts, through an analysis of court and sentencing decisions. The paper describes the methodology and initial findings of the project, and the next phase of study.

Restorative justice and violence against women
Ptacek J
New York : Oxford University Press, c2010.

Though more commonly used with juvenile crimes and minor misdemeanours, restorative justice techniques are now being trialled in cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse. Opinion is divided on whether such informal, community-focussed methods are suitable for such violent crimes. This book brings together a collection of differing views, with examples from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States, and with Indigenous people. The chapters are: Resisting co-optation: three feminist challenges to antiviolence work, by James Ptacek; The role of restorative justice in the battered women's movement, by Loretta Frederick, Kristine C. Lizdas; Aboriginal women and political pursuit in Canadian sentencing circles: at cross roads or cross purposes?, by Rashmi Goel; A community of one's own? When women speak to power about restorative justice, by Pamela Rubin; Restorative justice, gendered violence, and indigenous women, by Julie Stubbs; Restorative justice for domestic and family violence: hopes and fears of indigenous and non-indigenous Australian women, by Heather Nancarrow; Restorative justice and youth violence toward parents, by Kathleen Daly, Heather Nancarrow; Opening conversations across cultural, gender, and generational divides: family and community engagement to stop violence against women and children, by Joan Pennell, Mimi Kim; Alternative interventions to intimate violence: defining political and pragmatic challenges, by Mimi Kim; Restorative justice for acquaintance rape and misdemeanour sex crimes, by Mary P. Koss; Restorative justice and gendered violence in New Zealand: a glimmer of hope, by Shirley Julich; Beyond restorative justice: radical organizing against violence, by Andrea Smith; and Re-imagining justice for crimes of violence against women, by James Ptacek.

Recorded crime - offenders, selected states and territories 2007-08.
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009.

This report presents statistics on offenders in Australia, for the 2007/2008 year. It includes statistics recorded by police for offenders who were proceeded against by police during this period, for all states and territories except Western Australia, as available. Statistics include: offender rates, principal offence, young offenders, age and sex, repeat offenders, Indigenous offenders, and police proceedings and court actions. Principal offences listed are homicide, acts intended to cause injury, sexual assault, dangerous and negligent acts, robbery and extortion, unlawful entry with intent, theft, deception, illicit drugs, weapons and explosives, property damage, public order offences, and offences against justice. The report also describes the criminal justice system in Australia and data collection issues.

Recorded crime - victims, Australia 2008.
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Sydney, NSW : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009.

This report presents statistics on the victims of crime in Australia in 2008. The information is taken from police data in each state and territory, where recorded, and supplemented with the National Crime and Safety Survey. Statistics include victimisation rates, victim characteristics, age and sex, victimisation in each state and territory, location of crime, use of weapons in crime, outcomes of police investigations at 30 days, relationship of offender to victim, and Indigenous victims of crime. Data is included where available for robbery, assault, sexual assault, homicide, attempted murder, kidnapping and abduction, blackmail and extortion, driving causing death, break ins, attempted break ins, unlawful entry, and motor vehicle theft, with comparisons from 1999.

Offending youth : sex, crime and justice
Carrington K and Pereira M
Annandale, NSW : Federation Press, 2009.

Juvenile delinquency is a relatively new concept, with children tried by the adult courts until the start of the 20th century. This book explores key patterns of juvenile delinquency in Australia and how the state and the criminal justice system have responded. Drawing on Australian studies and international trends, the book looks at such themes as policing socially marginalised 'at-risk' children, cyber-bullying, violence and sexual violence related to sport, and the rise in violent crime by girls. Chapters include: Reformatories, training schools and institutions for neglected and delinquent children; The emergence of juvenile justice; Theories of sex, youth and crime; Girls and juvenile justice; Boys and juvenile justice; Aboriginal youth and the juvenile justice system; Youth, sex and violence; Ethnic gangs, riots and the policing of young people; and Youth conferences, diversion and restorative justice.

Juveniles contact with the criminal justice system in Australia
Richards K
Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 2009.

This report presents data on young people's contact with the criminal justice system in the different states and territories of Australia, excepting Tasmania. It includes data on children as victims of crime, as alleged offenders in contact with the police, and as young offenders in the justice system. It compares data by age, gender, Indigenous status, and offence type. Data is also included on sentencing outcomes and supervision orders, incidence of child abuse, deaths in custody, and deaths in motor vehicle pursuits. The collection, limitations, and gaps of data in Australia are also discussed.

Mutant messages 2 : Victoria's indigenous family violence plan.
Cripps K and Miller L
Indigenous Law Bulletin v. 7 no. 12 May - Jun 2009: 10-14

This article looks at the Victorian Government's ten year plan - Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families: Towards a Safer Future for Indigenous Families and Communities and questions if it will break the silence of acceptance that exists around the issues of family violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, child abuse and neglect. After discussing the background to the plan, it looks at the Indigenous Family Violence Regional Action Groups and what their work entails. The paper then goes through the strategic objectives of the plan and specific actions that have been funded. It looks at the Victorian Integrated Family Violence Reform Strategy, the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) and the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic.) It concludes by pointing out areas for improvement and future plans and criticisms of the Government.

Indigenous Justice Taskforce: a review of the Indigenous Justice Taskforce, April 2009. (PDF)
Western Australia. Dept. of the Attorney General
Perth, WA : Dept. of the Attorney General, 2009.

In July 2007, the Chief Justice announced the formation of a taskforce to deal with the rapid number of charges of sexual assault in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The taskforce's aim was to ensure sexual assault cases in the Kimberley were dealt with as quickly as possible to minimise disruption to people in remote communities and enable the healing process.

Working with Indigenous survivors of sexual assault
Cox D
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2008.

This paper discusses good practice considerations for culturally appropriate services for Indigenous survivors of sexual assault. It outlines values and power balance, language, alternative service provision, co-location of services, outreach, holistic services, client empowerment, confidentiality, building trust, employing Indigenous personnel, and that 'one size doesn't fit all'. Professionals working in this area also need to understand the context of kinship systems, intergenerational and historical trauma, and cycles of abuse, which can hinder or harm their clients.

Review of Cape York sentences (PDF)
Davis P and Eberhardt C
Brisbane, Qld. : Dept. of Justice and Attorney-General, 2008

The terms of reference for this review called for an investigation into the sentences imposed by the Queensland District Court, sitting in Cairns or in the Cape York communities, in relation to sexual offences committed by Indigenous offenders. The review examines 71 cases, nearly all from Cape York. It also examines the submissions in the Aurukun case. The offences range across a wide spectrum of seriousness, from indecent assault and indecent treatment of children to violent examples of rape. Although the review notes a degree of inconsistency in the severity of sentences for sexual offences and some deficiencies in the way the duties of public prosecutor were carried out, it found no general pattern of inadequate sentencing for sexual offenders from Cape York.

Sexual violence in Aurukun : the Queen v BP, DK, MY, PA, Koowarta, Wikmunea, Woolla 2007.
Cripps K, Davis M and Taylor C
Indigenous Law Bulletin v. 7 no. 9 Nov/Dec 2008: 14-17

The sentencing decision in the Aurukun sexual assault case, relating to the gang rape of a 10-year old Aboriginal girl, provoked public outcry and raised questions about how the justice system manages Indigenous sexual assault. This paper provides the background to the Aurukun case and the District Court proceedings and decision, including arguments in which the perpetrators' perspectives took precedence over that of the victim. It explains the grounds for appeal against the suspended sentences that were handed down and the decision of the Court of Appeal. The article questions whether the initial light sentences were an isolated case or whether they represent standard judicial practice in sexual assault cases involving Indigenous women and children. It discusses principles of sentencing involving offenders from disadvantaged background and how these can be balanced against justice for the victims. The analysis of this case is part of a research project examining cases in which Indigenous women and children are victims of sexual assault. The research asks: how victims progress through and exit the justice system; what is good and poor practice; the outcomes for Indigenous victims of sexual assault; and judicial conceptions of Indigenous culture in such cases.

What is the outcome of reporting rape to the police? : 'Study of reported rapes in Victoria 2000-2003: Summary research report'.
Morrison Z
Aware : ACSSA newsletter no. 17 2008: 4-11

The 'Study of reported rapes in Victoria 2000-2003: summary research report' presents the results of an extensive analysis of police investigations into rape offences in Victoria. The report provides particular insight into those cases that enter the criminal justice system and are filtered out. Overall, the study shows a high attrition rate for rape that might have actually increased, with offenders charged in only 15 per cent of cases. In particular, Aboriginal victims, victims with a mental illness or psychiatric disability, and those influenced by alcohol or other drugs around the time of the offence were some of the groups of people least likely to see charges laid. This article discusses the background of the study, its aims and methods, and then provides an abridged summary of the main findings in relation to the outcomes of cases, the relationship between case characteristics and case outcomes, and cases involving diverse groups.

Mutant messages : Victoria's Indigenous family violence 10 year plan.
Cripps K and Miller L
Indigenous Law Bulletin v. 7 no. 7 Aug/Sep 2008: 15-18

In June 2008, the Victorian Government in partnership with the Indigenous community of Victoria launched a ten-year plan to respond to Indigenous family violence. This paper reviews the plan, the processes used to develop it and its ability to achieve its stated objectives. The paper asks whether the plan, in its present form, can break the 'silence of acceptance' surrounding family violence, sexual assault, elder abuse and child abuse and neglect. While endorsing the plan's principles and objectives, it finds that it lacks a demonstrable strategy to guide efforts towards these objectives.

Indigenous family violence and sexual abuse : considering pathways forward.
Cripps K and McGlade H
Journal of Family Studies v. 14 no. 2-3 Oct 2008 Special issue: Innovative approaches to family violence: 240-253

Australian Indigenous experiences of family and sexual violence have received much media and government attention since 2006. Three state government reports into the problem have been published in this time. They highlight the disproportionate incidence of sexual assault and family violence within Indigenous communities and the many complexities associated with such experiences. They also illustrate that Indigenous communities are actively considering pathways forward for healing and for justice for victims, their families, and the broader kin network who inevitably feel the ripple effects of such violence. The applicability of international examples of pathways forward are being considered in the Australian Indigenous context. The Community Holistic Circle Healing process, developed in Canada, has been identified as an example of best practice in the management of sexual violence in Indigenous communities. This paper critically examines the program in its own context and reflects on the feasibility of its transfer to the very different geographic, social, cultural, political and spiritual contexts of Australian Indigenous communities.

See more resources on Indigenous communities and sexual assault in the AIFS library catalogue

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