An analysis of the association between criminal behaviour and experience of maltreatment as a child

J. Yick

Department of the Attorney General and Justice, Northern Territory,

Aims: This study explores the association between maltreatment as a child in the Northern Territory and criminal offending as juveniles and adults. The results are broken down by Indigenous status and gender, as well as offence types.

Method: The NT conviction records from 1 January 1995 to 31 March 2015 were assessed for individuals maltreated as children and those not known to be maltreated.  The study population included all individuals born in the Northern Territory between 1985 and 2003.  The maltreated group included 1276 individuals who were the recipients of at least one child protection order from NT courts between 1 January 1985 and 31 March 2015.

Results: Consistent with previous research, the maltreated group had a significantly higher (X2, p<.01) juvenile offending rate than those not known to be maltreated. The maltreated group also had a significantly higher (X2, p<.01) re-offending rate. However, maltreated children who reached adulthood without a juvenile conviction showed a significantly lower (X2, p<.01) adult conviction rate than those not known to be maltreated who also lacked juvenile convictions. An interesting finding was that Indigenous males maltreated as children showed a lower, although not statistically significant, overall offending rate than Indigenous males not known to be maltreated.


Joe Yick holds a Mathematical Science degree and a Master of Business Administration.  Joe has held various research and management positions within the Northern Territory Government before joining Department of Justice in 2001 as the Principal Research Officer.  Joe has presented several papers in previous ANZSOC conferences.


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