Indigenous people are proportionately more likely to live in rural and remote areas of Australia than other culturally and linguistically distinct groups. For this reason, a study of rural crime and justice demands particular attention be paid to the nature and incidence of crime in Indigenous communities as well as the relationship between Indigenous people and the broader non-Indigenous justice institutions.
This chapter considers three issues: the nature of crime and victimisation in Indigenous rural and remote communities; the responses of the Anglo-Australian criminal justice system to Indigenous crime and justice issues; and the potential for developing and strengthening Indigenous responses to crime. In brief, the rural and remote nature of Indigenous communities influences the social and spatial dynamics of crime. Further, government responses have varied depending on the nature of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community. In many respects remote Indigenous communities have tended to have less consistent intervention by justice and welfare agencies, while ‘mixed’ rural communities where Indigenous people comprise a significant minority have tended to have a much stronger law and order presence aimed at controlling Indigenous populations. A further dynamic has been recent work in Indigenous communities aimed at developing localised governance structures to enable communities to deal more effectively with crime prevention and more effective models of sanctioning and rehabilitation (often drawing on various alternatives seen to be more appropriate for Indigenous control).
Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure
Date of this Version
Chris Cunneen, "Crime, Justice and Indigenous People" (March 2008). University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series 2008. Working Paper 11.