Crime and Society in Australia

Australia’s law is drawn from the English common law. However, each state can enforce its own criminal law. Different definitions of crime exist but it is nonetheless, agreed that crime include: fraud, burglary, robbery, rape, assault, kidnapping and homicide; manslaughter or murder. Identity has a role to play as far as crime is concerned. Identity involves various variables such as; sex, age, gender and race. The relationship between these variables and crime can be looked at in terms of participation in criminal activities, victimization or contribution in law enforcement. Generally women have the highest rate of victimization.

Men’s crime rate participation is also higher than that of women in Australia. There is a visible difference in crime participation in Australia on racial lines. For example statistics show that minority youths are more involved in crime. (Adam, G & peter, G 1999) Crime can be defined as breaking the law. The government or authorities usually set laws that the citizens must follow, punishment is prescribed for those who bleach those laws. The laws provided by a state are an example of behaviour codes that influence society. The legal or criminal justice system enforces the law and punishes those who break it.

There is a social stigma associate with crime. It is important to note that all breaches of the law are not criminal such as civil offences and breach of contract. The tag ‘crime’ is usually reserved for the offences that cause harm or injury to the public, individuals or the state. Social, political, economic and psychological conditions influence the definition of crime and how the law is enforced. These changes may criminalize or decriminalize behaviour. The statistics on crime will have to take this factor into account (Wallace & Natasha 2005). A criminal is deviant who does not follow social codes that exist in the society.

Legally, a criminal is a person who breaches the law and commits a crime. This offender is the tried before a court of law for breaking the law. A criminal is usually found to be guilty of the charges put against him/her. A sentence or punishment is give to such an individual. (Mason, G 2007) In Australia crimes are legally classified as either indictable or non-indictable. Indictable offences are heard in a superior court in the presences of a jury. However, non-indictable offences are heard in magistrate courts and jury is not necessary. (Adam, G & peter, G 1999)

Although there are many differences in the various jurisdictions, a conclusion was made that offences include; fraud, burglary, robbery, rape, assault and homicide. Crime is categorized as violent, public order or property crime in the criminal justice statistics. Violent crimes consist of assault, sexual violence, robbery, kidnapping or abduction and homicide. Robbery to some extent is a property crime. Nevertheless, it’s well thought-out a wicked crime since the risk of violence is a graver offence. ( Mason, G 2007) Australia’s criminal law has evolved from the initial law adopted from the English common law.

This central administration of this country is composed of the national government and six states. The commonwealth government enforces its own laws. Commonwealth offences include drug trafficking, breach of social security laws, property and personal offences that occur within the commonwealth. Every state has its own criminal law. States like; Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland have enacted the criminal codes. This law also applies in other Australia states like those from the south and the new south of Wales. (Adam, G & peter, G 1999)

Currently gender, race, policing, law and crime are some of the topics for debate in the criminal justice system. Stakeholders are kin on establishing a relationship between crime, gender, race and the legal justice system. However, the issue has not received adequate media and political attention (Wallace 2005). According to statistics on Australia’s workforce in criminal justice work there are more men compared to women. In addition, statistics also reveals that majority of those working in criminal justice are white males. The population of indigenous white men is larger than that of indigenous Australian women.

Information and statistics provided also shows Australian indigenous white male represent the largest population in the prisons. The statistics reveal that the normal group of just about 2% of Australia’s female population accounts for half of the overall number of indigenous Australian women who are in prison. ” These findings are astonishing. Evidently, there is a racial disparity in the workforce of the criminal justice system in Australia (Cunneen & Chris 1998) The role of the police in the legal justice system is analyzed by Cunneen in his book called, Administration, offence and clash: indigenous Communities and the law.

The author examines the over-criminalization of Australia’s indigenous people in relation to their colonial past. He developed a theory that there is a relationship between criminalization and colonization of the indigenous people. Cunneen gives attention to the role the police play in the process of criminalization of the indigenous people. He notes that the law enforcers particularly the police have limited effectives; their policies and practices are shortcoming. The police need to change their colonial policing style and culture. A zero tolerance approach towards crime has been adopted by the Australian government.

However, it is important to protect human rights and to use good judgment. Police have a vital role in crime prevention and reaction. However, more emphasis should be placed on crime prevention. The police need to organize targeted patrols, follow ups for victims with repeat allegations, faster improved response to victims, problem identification and development of solutions as well as cooperation with other law enforcing agencies. For this changes to take place successfully a cultural and mind set change is fundamental (Cunneen & Chris 1998).

Women have often been the victims of crime. A study was conducted on the victimization of women in Australia. The survey on sexual and physical violence was carried out on women between 18 to 69 years. The definition of physical violence included threats, arm twisting, attempted suffocation and use of weapons like knifes or a guns. Forced sexual engagement, unwelcome sexual touch and attempts of sexual violence. According to the report 10% of the women who participated in the survey had experienced male violence that year or the previous one.

The number of women who underwent bodily violence was twofold as high as that of the ones who experienced sexual violence. The statistics indicated that 5% of the physical violence was perpetrated by a non-partner while 3% of the sexual violence was also committed by a non-partner. The report defined a non-partner as a friend, relative, acquaintance, workmate or stranger. (Mouzos, J & Makkai, T 2004) Generally, sexual violence and physical violence perpetrated by a partner are hardly reported to the authorities. Most victims find it easier to speak to their families and friends than report to the police.