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New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey 2006 - Analysis of the Māori experience

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Executive summary

 

The 2006 New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey (NZCASS) is the first to enable a detailed analysis of the Māori experience of crime victimisation. We begin this executive summary with the major findings, then follow with a description of the survey and a more extensive summary of findings.

 

NZCASS focuses on victims and not on offenders.

 

This analysis allows us to understand victimisation differences both between Māori and other New Zealanders and within the Māori population in 2005. The survey tells us that:

  • Māori were more likely to be victims of crime than other New Zealanders
  • Māori were more likely to be multiply victimised than other New Zealanders
  • irrespective of the type of crime, or the incidence, prevalence or crime concentration rates, these differences for Māori victims were real
  • victimisation was not evenly distributed for Māori; some Māori experienced more victimisation than others
  • risk factors for being a victim, which are identified in the report, cluster for Māori and the overall risk tends to be greater than the sum of the parts
  • some risk factors are modifiable; others are not modifiable or can only be modified with difficulty
  • not all Māori experienced victimisation; protective factors, which are also identified, also occur in clusters
  • Māori may view victimisation differently from other New Zealanders.

 

Major findings

 

Victimisation levels

Māori were more likely to be victims.

  • Māori victimisation rates were high.
  • Nearly half (47.5%) of all Māori aged 15 years and over were found to be the victims of a crime in 2005.
  • This rate was 1.3 times the European rate and 1.2 times the total New Zealand rate.
  • Assaults, threats and damage to personal property were the major crime types contributing to the high rates of personal victimisation for Māori. Māori had a prevalence rate two to three times that of Europeans for all of these offence types and especially high rates of violent offences by partners and other people well-known to the victim.
  • Burglary, theft from a dwelling and theft of a vehicle were the major crime types contributing to the high rates of household victimisation for Māori.

 

Māori were more likely to be multiply victimised.

  • A person’s chance of being victimised again was higher if they were Māori.
  • Each Māori victim experienced 4.3 victimisations on average in 2005.
  • Assaults, threats, and damage to personal property were the major crime types contributing to multiple victimisations.

 

For all the measures used, the differences were real.

  • All offence types – both personal and household – resulted in more victimisation for Māori than other New Zealanders.
  • Prevalence – which counts how many people were victimised at least once – was higher for Māori (at 47.5 Māori victimised per 100 Māori) than for all other New Zealanders.
  • Incidence – which counts the number of victimisations per 100 people – was much higher for Māori (at 205 victimisations per 100 Māori) than for all other New Zealanders.
  • Crime concentration – which counts the number of victimisations per victim – was higher for Māori (at 4.3 victimisations per Māori victim) than for all other New Zealanders.
  • Victimisation from personal offences – assaults, threats, damage to personal property – were all significantly higher than for Europeans; victimisation rates for sexual offences and theft of personal property were also high for Māori.
  • Victimisation from household offences – burglary, theft from a dwelling, and theft of a vehicle – were all significantly higher than for Europeans; household vandalism and vehicle vandalism were also high for Māori.

 

Risk Factors

Risk factors cluster.

  • Multiple risk factors can be seen in some individuals and households. This statement is also true for many Europeans, but the profile of the Māori population is such that these factors are more likely to occur for Māori.
  • The result of clustering means some Māori carry a heavier burden of risk, and the sum of these risks results in even greater victimisation.

 

Victimisation was not evenly distributed within the Māori population

  • Māori flatters, younger Māori, Māori on a benefit (other than an unemployment benefit), Māori who were single, Māori living in a sole-parent households, Māori living in neighbourhoods with high social disorder, Māori living in the South Island, Māori students and Māori women experienced higher levels of victimisation than other Māori.
  • Older Māori, Māori who were retired, Māori living in neighbourhoods with low social disorder, middle-aged Māori, married Māori, Māori couples with no children, small Māori households and Māori men all experienced lower rates of victimisation than other Māori.
  • Again, many of these protective factors cluster – older people are more likely to be retired, to have no children at home.

 

Some risk factors are modifiable, others are not.

  • Living standards and social disorder are both modifiable risk factors.
  • Beneficiary status, housing tenure, and home ownership are more difficult to modify.
  • Age and gender are not modifiable as risks for victimisation.

 

Māori view of victimisation

Māori may view victimisation differently from other New Zealanders.

  • Māori were significantly more likely than Europeans to say that fear of crime had a high impact on their lives (21% vs 14%). Māori women, younger Māori and Māori from more deprived areas were more affected.
  • Māori were more likely than Europeans to report to the Police violent offences committed by partners and other people well known to them, but slightly less likely to report other violent offences. However, for all New Zealanders, Police only got to know about a minority of violent incidents.

 

This analysis of the Māori experience of crime is consistent with other research. It adds considerably to our knowledge, and the results of the 2009 survey will enhance this knowledge further.

 

Background to NZCASS

 

During 2006, 5416 New Zealanders aged 15 years and over were asked directly about crime victimisation incidents they had experienced during the 2005 calendar year. Nearly 1700 Māori respondents were interviewed and this report summarises a descriptive analysis of those data.

 

The NZCASS Māori report addresses three main objectives. It:

  • describes the pattern of victimisation experienced by Māori in 2005
  • describes the risk factors correlated with victimisation which are characteristic of the Māori population
  • summarises NZCASS results relevant to Māori and presents them all within one report.

 

This important descriptive analysis provides us with a clearer picture of victimisation and victimisation risk. It tells us who were victims and what their circumstances were, how often they were victimised, and in some cases who was responsible. However, this research does not tell us why victims are victims. Neither can this single study tell us the trends for Māori across time.

 

For the first time a comprehensive picture of crime and safety issues for Māori has been gathered. And this picture will further develop as NZCASS is repeated during 2009.

 

The findings produce a range of implications for policy and practice. Importantly it must be recognised that not all risk factors are modifiable, or can only be modified with difficulty, and that policies and practices may need to respond to this pattern of victimisation when they can’t reduce risks for Māori.

 

This report is one of a suite of reports, and should be read in conjunction with those reports – particularly The New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey: 2006 Key Findings (Mayhew and Reilly, 2007a) and Understanding victimisation risk: Results for the New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey 2006 in an international context (Reilly and Mayhew, 2009).

 

Overview and method

NZCASS was conducted as a face-to-face interview in people’s homes throughout New Zealand from February to July 2006 to measure the crime rate from a victim’s perspective. It also sought information about New Zealanders’ perceptions of safety in their neighbourhoods and towns.

 

Information about incidents (offences) was collected from two parts of NZCASS, the Victim Form(s) and a Self-Completion section. The Victim Form collected information about offences that were mostly committed by strangers, and the interviewer entered the respondents’ answers directly into a laptop computer. In the second part of the survey, respondents were handed the laptop to enter their own answers to a set of more sensitive questions. This Self-Completion section asked about offences committed by partners and other people well-known to the victim, as well as sexual offences.

 

NZCASS presents offences in two main groups: household offences and personal offences. Household offences are crimes where the whole household is the victim of a crime, such as burglary and theft of a vehicle. Personal offences are crimes where just the respondent has been victimised, as in assaults, threats and theft of personal effects. The assessment of what counted as a crime was independent of the victim’s own assessment. Descriptions of incidents were coded by legal experts who judged whether an incident met the standard of a crime. This means that results were not affected by individual interpretations of crime or victimisation.

 

Victimisation rates are presented in this report in two ways.

  • The prevalence rate is the percentage of people or households who were victimised at least once in 2005 (expressed as the number of victims per 100 people/households).
  • The incidence rate is the number of victimisations per 100 people or households (expressed as the number of victimisations per 100 people/households).

 

Of the 5416 respondents interviewed for NZCASS, 1698 identified themselves as Māori. Of these, 511 were part of the main sample. The remaining 1187 were in households identified as Māori through a screening process. If a household was deemed eligible, a randomly selected Māori adult aged 15 years or over from the household was interviewed. The response rate for the booster sample was 56%, compared with 59% for the main sample.

 

All other NZCASS reports have analysed ethnicity by total response ethnic group. This means that a respondent who identified as Māori and European was counted as being a member of each ethnic group for analysis. However, for this report all who identified as Māori are counted only as Māori. The European ethnic group does not include anyone who identified themselves as Māori, Pacific or Asian, but incorporates all those who identify as European (e.g. Dutch, English) as well as New Zealand Europeans (including those who call themselves New Zealanders and Pakeha). Analyses for total Māori, Māori who identified as both Māori and another ethnicity (Māori-other) and Māori who identified only as Māori (Māori-only) population groups in NZCASS yielded very similar patterns; statistically significant differences among these three groups could rarely be detected. We have therefore reported total Māori findings for most of this descriptive analysis and the three major groups presented are the Māori, European and total New Zealand populations. Sample sizes were generally too small to provide detailed comparison with other ethnic groups.

 

All results presented in this report have been statistically weighted using the 2001 New Zealand Census to ensure accurate representation of groups within New Zealand. The statistical significance of the differences between groups is indicated in the tables using asterisks, with 95% probability levels used as the minimum standard. However, where sample sizes are small, such as for less common offences or smaller subgroups of the population, even quite substantial differences between groups may not necessarily be statistically significant. For this reason, some important findings are reported – with an explanation that the difference was not statistically significant – based on a judgement that they warranted mention, nevertheless. Most analyses were restricted to sample sizes of at least 50 incidents or respondents.

 

Summary of Findings

 

The extent of Māori victimisation


Irrespective of the particular measure used, Māori consistently experienced higher levels of victimisation in 2005 than other New Zealanders, both overall and across most offence types. Table A shows that Māori prevalence rates, incidence rates and crime concentration rates were all higher than European and total New Zealand rates for all offences, all personal offences combined, and all household offences combined. Further, the differences between Māori and Europeans and Māori and total New Zealand were all significant – these are real differences. Personal offences – and especially confrontational offences – show the greatest differences.


Table A Prevalence, incidence and crime concentration: Comparative rates of victimisation by ethnicity and offence type

 

 

All offences combined

All personal offences

All household offences

Ethnicity

n

Prevalence1

Incidence2

Crime

Concentration3

Prev1

Incid2

Conc3

Prev1

Incid2

Conc3

Māori 

1698

47.5

205.0

4.3

29.0

121.3

4.2

36.1

91.6

2.5

European

3245

36.0***

98.7***

2.7***

15.2***

45.5***

3.0***

27.8*

52.3***

1.9***

Total NZ

5416

38.7***

114.9***

3.0***

17.5***

55.6***

3.2***

29.8***

60.2***

2.0*

 Notes:
1 Victims per 100 people.
2 Victimisations per 100 people.
3 Victimisations per victim.
Rates for European and total New Zealand are each compared to Māori .
The European ethnic group does not include anyone who identified themselves as Māori, Pacific or Asian, but incorporates all those who identify as European (e.g. Dutch, English) as well as New Zealand Europeans (including those who call themselves New Zealanders and Pakeha).
Probability level: *** p<0.001 ** p<0.01 * p<0.05.

Prevalence

Nearly half of all Māori (47.5%) aged 15 years and over were the victim of at least one crime in 2005. The European rate was 36% and the overall New Zealand rate was 39%.

 

Victimisations for Māori resulted mostly from assaults (17%), threats (16%), and damage to personal property (6%). Victimisations were significantly higher than European victimisations from these same offence types (7%, 7% and 2% respectively).

 

Māori also experienced significantly higher victimisation from household offences than did Europeans, as measured by burglary (20% vs 12%), theft of a vehicle (3.5% vs 1%), and theft from a dwelling (6% vs 2.5%).

 

Māori rates of theft from a vehicle and vehicle vandalism were not significantly different from other groups.


Incidence

Māori had the highest incidence of victimisation from assaults (51%), threats (40%), and damage to personal property (8%). Māori victimisation was significantly higher than for Europeans, who had incidence rates of 18%, 15% and 3% for these same offence types.

 

Māori also had consistently higher incidence of household victimisation from burglary (35%) and vehicle theft (4%), compared with Europeans (18% and 1% respectively).

 

Crime concentration

For Māori the crime concentration rate was 4.3 victimisations per victim, compared with 2.7 for Europeans. This difference was statistically significant.

 

The nature of Māori victimisation

NZCASS covers interactions with the Police, impacts on the victim, offender characteristics and other contextual details about incidents that are committed largely by strangers to the victim.

The 1698 Māori participants in the survey identified some 1634 incidents of victimisation.

 

Reporting

About one-third of incidents had been reported to the Police, and Māori reporting rates were not significantly different overall to European ones. However, offences that involved violence by strangers and property damage were less likely to be reported by Māori victims.

 

When an incident was reported, Māori and Europeans mostly had similar feelings about the Police. Yet, feelings differed in two main ways: fewer Māori victims felt Police took enough interest in their case, and Māori victims were less likely than Europeans to say Police showed them as much respect as they should (these were both significant differences).

 

When asked why an incident was not reported to the Police, Māori were less likely than Europeans to say that the incident was too trivial to report, and more likely to say it had been dealt with personally or it was a private matter.

 

Reactions to incidents

In general, Māori and European victims did not differ significantly in their reactions once offence type was taken into account. The major exception was for victims of violent offences committed by strangers, for which Māori victims were more likely to have no reaction, and less likely to feel anger/annoyance, shock, fear, anxiety/panic attacks, vulnerability/lost confidence or more cautious/aware.

 

Knowledge of offenders

Māori victims were more likely than Europeans to have had some contact with the offender for vehicle crimes, theft, and property damage, and were more likely to have known the offender well. When respondents indicated that they knew something about the offender (for any offence type), they were asked for further details. For all such offences combined, 48% of Māori victims and 38% of European victims said the offender was affected by alcohol, while 43% of Māori victims and 29% of European victims said the offender was affected by drugs. This difference was particularly marked for violent incidents by an offender well-known to the victim.

 

Burglary and stolen property

Burglary was more likely to occur within the victim’s home for Māori victims (33%) compared with European victims (16%), as opposed to burglary from a garage, shed or the grounds. The same finding was true for damage offences to properties.

 

For Māori victims, the value of items stolen (including cash, but excluding vehicles) was $200 or less in half of the incidents involving loss, between $200 and $1000 in 36% of incidents, and over $1000 in 14% of incidents. The value distribution did not differ significantly between Māori and European victims, but Māori victims were more likely to have recovered some of the property (24%) than European victims (15%).

 

Stolen or damaged property was less likely to have been covered by an insurance policy for Māori victims (26%) than European victims (45%). However, where there was an insurance policy, Māori victims (45%) were more likely to have made a claim than European victims (29%).

 

Māori victims of confrontational offences by partners and people well-known to the victim

 

Confrontational offences include violence or the threat of violence, and deliberate damage or the threat of damage to personal property. The survey specifically canvassed incidents where the offender was a partner or another person well-known to the victim.

 

Victimisation from sexual offences

Eight percent of Māori women experienced sexual victimisation – which was twice as much as that experienced by total New Zealand women (4%). The lifetime prevalence of sexual victimisation of Māori women was 37%.

 

Victimisation from partner violence

Fourteen percent of partnered Māori experienced one or more victimisations by their partner in 2005, some two-and-a-half times the rate experienced by Europeans (5%). At particular risk were Māori women. Of those who had a partner, 18% were victimised at least once. As a group, these women were victimised on average more than four times each in 2005.

 

Although overall reporting rates were low, Māori (20%) were more likely to report their partners to Police than Europeans (7%). However, only 23% of Māori and 13% of European victims considered these offences to be a crime. The only significant difference between ethnic groups for not reporting was that more Māori (38%) said the matter was dealt with by me/us compared to Europeans (24%).

 

The main emotional reaction mentioned was anger or annoyance (82% of Māori victims), followed by crying, tears (45%). The main difference between ethnic groups was that European victims were more likely to be shocked (45%) and less likely to be angry or annoyed (58%) than Māori.

 

Māori partner offences were more likely to involve actual force or violence than for Europeans. Māori victims (33%) were significantly more likely to be physically injured than Europeans (12%). However, Māori were not more likely to take time off work (5% vs 7%) and Māori victims (10%) were less likely to talk to a medical professional about the incident than Europeans (24%).

 

For Māori and European victims in households with children, 44% said that children were aware of the offence. As more children live in Māori households this may impact on proportionately more Māori children.

 

Over their lifetime, young Māori, Māori women, Māori in sole parent households, Māori renters, Māori having trouble managing financially, and Māori beneficiaries – groups with overlapping membership – had higher rates of ever being a victim of a partner offence.

 

Māori were also more than twice as likely as Europeans to have experienced any type of psychological abuse by their current partner. However, there were no differences between Māori women and men in this regard.

 

Victimisation from violence by people well-known to the victim

Eleven percent of Māori experienced one or more confrontational offences by someone wellknown in 2005. This rate for Māori was almost three times higher than for Europeans (4%). There were 31 offences for every 100 Māori and 10 per 100 Europeans, indicating a large proportion of people who were victimised several times: 24% of Māori victims and 18% of European victims experienced four or more incidents in 2005.

 

The main reaction mentioned was anger or annoyance (73% of Māori victims), followed by shock (34%). More Māori victims felt shame or guilt (14%) than European victims (9%).

 

For Māori victims, 26% of incidents involved two or more offenders, compared to 11% for Europeans. Weapons were more likely to be involved in incidents with a Māori victim (25%) than with a European victim (12%). Māori victims (27%) were more likely to be physically injured than European victims (15%), but not more likely to take time off work (8% vs 11%). Māori victims (8%) were less likely to talk to a medical professional about the incident than were European victims (19%).

 

For violence committed by a partner and other well-known person (combined to provide sufficient numbers for the analysis), significantly more Māori victims said the offender was affected by alcohol (59%) or drugs (45%) than did European victims (35% and 22% respectively).

 

The distribution of victimisation risk for Māori

The Key Findings report (Mayhew and Reilly, 2007a) identified many risk factors for victimisation, including ethnic groups. Reilly and Mayhew (2009a) used multivariate analysis to determine which of these factors had the most effect. They showed that higher prevalence rates of all types of criminal victimisation were experienced by New Zealanders who were in the 15–24 age range, and those who lived in areas that were perceived as more socially disordered.

 

Additionally, burglaries were more commonly experienced in sole-parent households, and vehicle crimes affected mostly people who owned a vehicle in Auckland or other major metropolitan cities.

 

Violence of all types was most likely to occur to people who had difficulties managing on their income. Violence by partners and people well-known to the victim affected proportionately more people who were single, divorced/separated, or in de facto relationships. Also, having a higher number of children in a household was significantly related to partner violence. Finally, Māori were significantly more likely than other ethnic groups to experience violence by people well known to them.

 

Māori are over-represented in each of these high-risk groups (apart from urbanisation, which helped explain the higher rates of vehicle crimes in Auckland and other metropolitan cities). That is, Māori are more likely to be aged between 15 and 24 years, to live in socially-disordered areas, to live in sole-parent households, and so on.

 

The analyses in this report largely support the Reilly and Mayhew findings. However, the very high incidence rates, and the fact that Māori nevertheless experienced higher victimisation than Europeans on practically every factor analysed, would suggest that there is also a Māori effect present, which is not easily disentangled by analysis of the NZCASS variables. Certainly, we already know that the youthful profile of Māori, combined with being flatmates and renters, students and singles, provides a cluster effect that suggests there is a cumulative effect for individual Māori that makes their overall risk of victimisation greater than the sum of the separate factors.

 

Overall, then, the clustering of these risk factors within the Māori ethnic group (and perhaps other factors not able to be measured by NZCASS) has contributed to higher Māori victimisation rates when compared with other populations.

 

In order to more fully explore the Māori perspective, we examined the profile of New Zealand victims of crime to identify risk factors that were correlated with their experience as victims.

 

For each factor we present victimisation rates for Māori, European, and total New Zealand populations.

 

In interpreting these results the reader is reminded that these analyses, like all such statistical analyses, present correlates of victimisation, not causes. As these correlates are for past victimisations, they do not necessarily allow us to accurately predict the future because social conditions and demographics change.

 

Comparative victimisations and key risks

Figure 1 shows the comparative rates for selected groups of Māori victims. The groups have been selected to show a range of victimisation risks. Some European data are also shown for comparison. A full analysis of risk factors for Māori is contained in Chapter 5, This distribution of risk for Māori.

 

Figure 1 Comparative victimisation rates for Māori groups

Graph comparing the vicitmisation rates for Maori groups and European groups for all offence types

As the figure shows, Māori flatters (those who described their household type as flatmates) were found to have the highest victimisation rates and multiple victimisation rates, followed by young Māori (15–24 years) and those on benefits (such as sickness and domestic purposes benefit, but excluding an unemployment benefit). These groups are likely to have some common membership.

 

Māori over 60 years (not shown here) and Māori retirees had the lowest rates of victimisation among Māori. Older Māori are less likely to have parenting responsibilities, although they may well have responsibility for grandchildren or other family members. Many will be living alone, or in a couple-only situation, and may own their home.

 

For Māori, living in the South Island was associated with relatively higher victimisation, a risk not seen for Europeans.

 

Māori who were single, who were living in sole-parent households or who were students (not shown here) showed high levels of victimisation from all offence types.

 

Respondents were asked to self-rate the level of social disorder in their neighbourhood. They were asked to think about speeding cars, teens hanging around, graffiti, rubbish and drunks/glue sniffers in making their judgement. Self-rated neighbourhood social disorder was also highly correlated with criminal victimisation. When social disorder was high, victimisation was high, and when it was low, victimisation was low.

 

The trends for Māori victims were consistent; the prevalence for all victimisation for Māori was higher than for other New Zealanders, averaging just under half of all Māori being victims in 2005. Māori incidence rates were very much higher than European and total New Zealand populations, with around two victimisations per Māori person on average, which translates to four victimisations per Māori victim.

 

Interethnic variation – variation between ethnic groups

While higher victimisation can be explained by demographic risk factors – youth, gender, those who are struggling on their income, beneficiary status or household type – the clustering of these risk factors within the Māori ethnic group contributes to higher Māori victimisation rates when compared with other populations. No other ethnic group has quite the same demographic makeup and, therefore, risk profile.

 

The experience of Europeans provides the starkest contrast to that of Māori. One could argue that it is the demographic profile of Europeans (older, smaller families/households, more even spread of deprivation) that contributes to their lower victimisation. This argument is partly supported by the finding that European households that were struggling on their incomes had the highest victimisation rates when compared with other categories.

 

Intraethnic variation – variation within Māori groups

An analysis of intraethnic variation is also very interesting. The strength of Māori ethnic identity did not show detectable differences among the three constructed Māori groups (Māori-only, Māori-other and total Māori). Within the Māori ethnic group, deprivation and geographic position (urbanisation or region) are not able to explain Māori variation well. Even when the NZDep quintiles were recalculated to distribute Māori more evenly, deprivation did not show the same pattern of victimisation for Māori as it did for Europeans – and neither did financial coping. However, gender, age, household type and employment status do explain some of the variation, with the caveat that age gradients are obviously associated with household type and employment status, and these cannot be disentangled through bivariate analyses.

 

Māori concerns about the safety of their communities

Overall, Māori were concerned about crime, were worried about being victims of crime, and felt that they were likely to be harrassed because of their ethnicity. Their quality of life was negatively impacted by a fear of crime. Furthermore, they did not seem to be well informed about who could help them if they were victimised.

 

Almost half of all Māori thought that there was a crime problem in their local neighbourhood, which was significantly higher than the 35% of Europeans who thought there was. Māori, more often than other New Zealanders, thought that crime had increased over the last year. Māori were also more likely than Europeans to perceive social disorder in their local area.

 

Concerns about burglary were shared by all New Zealanders, but Māori mentioned concerns about domestic violence, car crime, assaults and street attacks, and drugs and drinking more frequently than Europeans. Māori most often mentioned burglary and vandalism/graffiti/petty theft as local problems. They also identified problems from drugs, drinking, dangerous driving and car crime, loitering youth, and street-fighting and domestic violence.

 

As a group, Māori were more likely than Europeans to say they felt very safe walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark (33% compared to 26%). However, the patterns were different: older Europeans were least likely to feel very safe (21% compared with 26% of younger people), but amongst Māori 29% of 15–24 year-olds said they felt very safe, compared to 43% of Māori over 60 years.

 

Help for victims

In terms of knowing about services and agencies available to assist victims, four in ten Māori were unable to name any community service for victims. People who identified as Māori-only were much more likely to mention Māori services, but less likely to mention other organisations. Europeans were much more likely to know about some of the services available for victims (e.g. 47% of Europeans mentioned Victim Support compared with 29% of Māori).

 

Māori confidence in the criminal justice system

Respondents were asked to rate Police, lawyers, judges, juries, probation officers and the prison service according to how well they were doing their jobs.

 

Overall, Māori rated Police as doing the best job, followed by juries, judges, the prison service, probation officers and lawyers. Europeans show a similar pattern, but were more positive than Māori about the Police and juries, and more negative about probation officers and the prison service.

 

Implications for policy and practice


NZCASS has allowed for the first time an in-depth analysis of the experience of Māori victims of crime. It has allowed for differences not only to be identified, but to be tested in terms of their statistical significance.

 

These data provide valuable evidence for Māori development and criminal justice policy. By comparison the data collected for Pacific peoples and Asian New Zealanders provide insufficient strength for statistical relationships to be similarly investigated.

 

NZCASS will be repeated in 2009 and three-yearly thereafter, potentially giving a valuable view of change over time.

 

Māori carried more risk of being a victim of crime than other New Zealanders. The demographic profile of Māori was correlated with victimisation, and much of the excess victimisation can be explained by youth, social disorder, and family circumstances. Further, NZCASS shows that the neighbourhood a person lives in is also critical. In addition, the overlap between victims and offenders is likely to have contributed, although that aspect is not measured by NZCASS.

 

Policy implications

This report draws attention to those groups of Māori who are particularly at risk: young people, sole-parent households, and Māori living in socially disordered or deprived neighbourhoods.

 

At a high policy level, most of these demographic factors of the Māori population are not modifiable – the age distribution will be a feature of Māoridom for some decades, perhaps generations, and cannot be easily influenced by social policy. Of course programmes which focus on Māori youth are expected to be helpful. Other social factors are modifiable: the poorer deprivation profile of Māori, home ownership patterns, and the employment profile of Māori can be influenced by social policy.

 

At a lower level, policies which are responsive to Māori will seek improved outcomes – fewer victimisations, and fewer multiple victimisations in particular – by accepting the Māori victimisation profile as a challenge for policymakers in the criminal justice system (and social development system) and not as a failing of the Māori population.

 

A role of policy is in identifying the modifiable risk factors and addressing these correlates of victimisation. Where modifiability is impossible or difficult, then policy solutions to improve outcomes for victims will be essential.

 

Practice implications

Māori victims have a specific profile of victimisation with a higher crime concentration than other populations. Public sector and Māori sector policies for victims need to acknowledge these differences in supporting Māori victims of crime and taking action to minimise repeat victimisation.

 

Improving future research

 

For the first time NZCASS has enabled a specific, robust and meaningful analysis of the experience of Māori victims of crime. The methods in the survey were designed to encourage higher levels of Māori participation, and we have attempted to bring a Māori perspective to the analysis of the considerable database of Māori information collected.

 

While NZCASS has provided an important starting point for an understanding of Māori victimisation, there are still further questions that need to be addressed. To improve our understanding of this topic, it is necessary to do several things

 

  • Understand conceptual differences – Māori may use a different set of standards when identifying incidents than other New Zealanders, and quite possibly there will be variation within the Māori ethnic group. A specific qualitative research study which seeks to identify the relevant Māori standards, and those extant in broader New Zealand, would be required. For example, the social disorder findings in relation to increasing victimisation with increasing social disorder might be subject to reporting bias – in other words, it is possible that people in more socially-disordered neighbourhoods are more sensitive to disorder, or possibly less sensitive to disorder. Without such studies it is impossible to fully account for respondent bias or reporting bias.
  • Improve NZCASS response rates – High response rates increase confidence in the research and reward the considerable effort and cost applied.
  • Improve our knowledge of non-responders – The lower response rates in NZCASS run the risk that systematic rather than random non-response bias exists. For example, highlyvictimised respondents might avoid interviews, or people who have not been victimised might feel their participation isn’t warranted.
  • Include Māori descent as a demographic variable – This will increase comparability with other datasets, including the New Zealand census.

 

Full report

PDF document icon Analysis of the Maori experience - NZCASS 2006.pdf — PDF document, 4272 kB (4375355 bytes)