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The number and rate of young people under youth justice supervision has dropped in recent years, but Indigenous young people continue to be over-represented, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Youth justice in Australia 2012-13, presents information on young people aged 10-17 under youth justice supervision, both in the community and in detention, during 2012-13. It also examines trends over the preceding 5-year period.

It shows that on an average day in 2012-13, there were 6,329 young people under youth justice supervision due to their involvement, or alleged involvement, in crime.

This was a drop of 1,000 young people from a peak of 7,332 young people under youth justice supervision on an average day in 2010-11 (down 14%).

Similarly, in 2012-13 the rate of young people under supervision dropped to 23.8 per 10,000 (or 1 in 420) young people-down from a high of around 27.6 (or 1 in 360) in 2010-11.

'This decrease was mainly due to a fall in the number and rate of young people under community-based supervision and young males under supervision,' said AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard.

'These are the predominant groups under supervision-on an average day about 85% of young people were under community-based supervision (as opposed to detention), and over 4 in 5 were male.'

In contrast, the number and rate of young people in detention remained relatively stable during this time, as did the rate of females under supervision overall.

'Of ongoing concern is the continuing over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people who are under supervision,' Mr Beard said.

'Despite the number of Indigenous young people under supervision falling by 5% over the past 5 years, in 2012-13 these young people were 17 times as likely as non-Indigenous young people to have been under supervision.'

Indigenous young people under supervision were also, on average, younger, more likely to complete multiple periods in supervision and spent longer, in total, under supervision during the year than non-Indigenous young people.

This over-representation was also evident when considering where young people lived prior to their supervision, with those from Very remote areas about 6 times as likely as those from Major cities to be under youth justice supervision on an average day in 2012-13.

Accompanying this report are individual fact sheets including specific data at a jurisdictional level for New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. These are not available for Western Australia and the Northern Territory, as those jurisdictions did not meet national agreed minimum data requirements.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 17 April 2014

Further information: Tim Beard, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1270, mob. 0418 271 395

Full publication: Youth justice in Australia 2012-13