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New study points to ways to better support Maori victims of crime

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A new study by the Ministry of Justice called "Māori and Victimisation in Aotearoa/New Zealand" found that Māori are more victimised than any other ethnic group in New Zealand, with poor socio-economic conditions a contributing cause.

The study is based on the New Zealand Crime and Victims Surveys of 2018 and 2019, a sample of more than 16,000 people aged 15 and over. The sample includes 4,641 Māori respondents.

Over a 12-month period, 38% of Māori are victims of crime compared to 30% for the general population. It found that multiple, compounding factors such as deprivation, age, disability, sexuality and financial stability contributed to Māori victimisation. "This means that any response to reduce victimisation of Māori needs to take these factors into account. These findings are important for the government and the community in seeking to improve support for Māori victims of crime," says Tim Hampton, Deputy Secretary, Sector Group, Ministry of Justice.

A previous Ministry of Justice report in 2006 also found that Māori were more likely to be the victims of crime across all offence types and experience multiple offences, in part due to deprivation of income, housing and land.

"This suggests that little has improved and that these trends will continue unless changes are made. Clearly change must not be cosmetic for Māori, it must be large scale and practical," says Tim Hampton.

"We found a small proportion of Māori experience disproportionate amounts of crime with just 5% of Māori adults experiencing 81% of all violent interpersonal offences against Māori and 56% of burglaries," says Tim Hampton. "Also being younger, the 15 to 29 age group, and in a non-legally recognised partnership, or having a disability significantly increased the risk of criminal victimisation for Māori."

One surprising finding is that the level of victimisation varies in different regions. For example, violent interpersonal crime was higher for Māori living in Wellington and the South Island, compared to Māori living in the North Island. "This information and other data in this report will be vital in the development of any new Māori led services for victims, or for improving services to support Māori victims and their whānau."

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