The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has released a report into the incidence of assault and robbery crimes against overseas students in Australia between 2005- 2009. This is the first major study of its kind in Australia.
The Australian Government reports to take very seriously any allegations that people are being criminally victimised. In 2010 the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith, announced that the AIC would conduct independent research into crimes against overseas students with particular reference to crime rates against Indian students.
AIC Director, Adam Tomison, said: “This ground-breaking analysis data-matched 418,294 students from five source countries with police victim records over the five years. The nature of the data did not allow the AIC to engage in specific analysis of racial motivation. That said, there was nothing in the overall findings that lends support to the view that Indian students have been singled out primarily for racial reasons.”
Key findings show:
• Rates of assault for Indian students were lower than or on par with rates for the general Australian population.
• Rates of robbery against Indian students were higher than average for Australians in larger states for most years.
• The proportion of robberies against Indian students occurring at commercial locations was approximately double that recorded for students from other countries.
• Over half of robberies against Indian students on commercial premises occurred at service stations.
Robbery is an opportunistic crime. The higher rates of robbery against Indian students, compared with other international students, and Australian comparison populations, appeared to be more likely to occur because of a range of factors: in particular, differences in employment, with large numbers of Indian students working in higher-risk employment (taxi driving and in convenience/fast food stores and service stations), working evening/ night shifts and their use of public transport.
As the data did not include offender profiles, the AIC could not engage in specific analysis of racial motivation. The fact that assault rates on Indian students were either below or the same as the rates of assault for the general Australian community suggests that race is not a primary motivation.
The 172 page report provides a detailed analysis across jurisdictions and is available on the AIC website.