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Non-Disclosure of Violence in Australian Indigenous Communities

NCJ Number
Matthew Willis
Date Published
January 2011
11 pages
This paper examines the reasons why incidences of violent crime and victimization are not reported in greater numbers within the Indigenous community in Australia.
Violent crime statistics drawn from police data do not show the large amount of violent crime and victimization 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 nondisclosure 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 emphasizes 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. References (Published Abstract)