Australian Institute of Criminology

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Footscray

Sample

In 2011–12, 515 detainees were interviewed at the Footscray police watchhouse. The average age of both male and female detainees was 33 years and 80 percent of detainees were male (see Table 60).

From 2011 to 2012, the number of detainees interviewed increased by eight percent (n=248 cf n=267), although this increase was not reflected in an increase in both male and female detainees interviewed. From 2011 to 2012, there was a 13 percent increase in the number of male detainees surveyed (194 cf 220), whereas there was a 13 percent decrease in the number of female detainees surveyed (54 cf 47). In 2011–12, when compared with earlier years, there was an increase in the number of detainees processed during DUMA interview hours.

From 2011 to 2012, the average age of detainees remained stable at 33 years, with the average age of female detainees decreasing by one year (33 cf 32) and the average age of male detainees remaining constant at 33 years.

Offending

In 2011–12, Footscray detainees were arrested and detained for a total of 739 charges. The average number of charges per detainee was two, which is, on average, one additional charge per detainee compared with previous years. In 2011–12, charges for property offences were most commonly recorded among the Footscray sample, comprising 40 percent of total charges. This was followed by drug offences (20%), violent offences (16%), breach offences (8%), disorder offences (6%), traffic offences (4%) and drink driving offences (2%). A further five percent of charges were recorded as ‘other offences’ not otherwise falling into the categories listed above (see Table 61). From 2011 to 2012, the most notable change across offence types was a five percentage point increase in breach offences (5% cf 10%). Since the 2009–10 collection, the percentage of violent charges increased by three percentage points (from 13%) and the percentage of drug charges decreased by four percentage points (from 24%).

To facilitate comparison between detainees, each detainee is categorised by the most serious offence for which they are being held under charge at the time of interview. In 2011–12, 44 percent of Footscray detainees were classified as property offenders (a decrease of only one percentage point from 2009–10), 21 percent as drug offenders, 20 percent as violent offenders, six percent as breach offenders, two percent as drink driving offenders, two percent as disorder offenders and one percent as traffic offenders. A further four percent were recorded as ‘other offenders’ not otherwise falling into the categories listed above (see Table 61).

From 2011 to 2012, there was a four percentage point increase in property offenders (42% cf 46%). From 2009–10 to 2011–12, based on most serious offence classification, violent and breach offenders increased by four and five percentage points respectively. By gender, females were more likely than males to be detained for a property offence (63% cf 39%) and less likely to be detained for a violent offence (13% cf 22%) or a drug offence (12% cf 23%).

Prior criminal justice contact

In 2011–12, for one in three Footscray detainees, the current episode of contact with police was not an isolated incident; 33 percent had been charged on at least one separate occasion in the 12 months prior to their interview (see Table 62). From 2011 to 2012, the figure increased by three percentage points (32% cf 35%). In 2011–12, the percentage of detainees who reported a prior arrest was substantially lower when compared with previous years (52% in 2009–10). In 2011–12, male detainees were slightly more likely than female detainees to report being charged in the 12 months prior to interview (34% cf 30%).

In 2011–12, less than one in five Footscray detainees (15%) reported spending time in prison in the 12 months prior to arrest (see Table 62). Male detainees were more likely than females to report recent prison history (17% cf 7%). Between 2011 and 2012, there was a three percentage point decrease in detainees reporting a recent prison history (17% cf 14%). However, the proportion who reported a recent prison history in 2011–12 was not notably different when compared with previous years.

Education, housing and employment

In 2011–12, Year 10 was the highest level of education attained for 39 percent of Footscray detainees (see Table 63), a seven percentage point decrease since 2009–10 (46%). A further two in five detainees (42%) had attempted or completed a post-secondary TAFE or university qualification. From 2011 to 2012, there was a six percentage point increase in detainees having attained Year 10 as their highest level of education (36% cf 42%), a six percentage point increase in detainees having Year 11 or 12 as their highest level of education (16% cf 22%) and a 12 percentage point decrease in detainees having attempted or completed a post-secondary TAFE or university qualification (48% cf 36%). These results indicate a decrease in scholastic achievement from 2011 to 2012. However, from 2009–10 to 2011–12 there was an increase in scholastic achievement.

From 2011 to 2012, for males, there was a seven percentage point increase in attainment of only Year 10 or less as the highest level of education (35% cf 42%) and a 16 percentage point decrease in the number who had attempted or completed a post-secondary TAFE or university qualification (48% cf 33%). From 2011 to 2012, for female detainees, the most notable changes were a five percentage point decrease in attainment of only Year 10 as the highest level of education (43% cf 38%) and a three percentage point increase in the number who had attempted or completed a post-secondary TAFE or university qualification (44% cf 47%).

The majority of Footscray detainees (85%) reported residing in stable accommodation that was owned or rented, either from a private owner or social housing, by them (44%) or someone else (41%). A small percentage of detainees (7%) reported having no fixed address or living in emergency accommodation (see Table 63).

Female detainees were more likely than males to report living in stable accommodation that they owned or rented, either from a private owner or social housing, (51% cf 42%), while male detainees were more likely than females to report living in a residence owned or rented by someone else (42% cf 39%). There were no notable differences in the accommodation status of Footscray detainees when compared with earlier years.

Less than one in five detainees (18%) reported being in full-time employment at the time of their arrest, while a little over one in 10 (13%) reported being in part-time employment (see Table 63). The remaining 355 detainees (69%) were not working at the time of their arrest and of these:

  • 26 percent were looking for work (n=132);
  • 18 percent were not working either because they were on leave from work or due to illness, disability or the seasonal nature of their employment (n=94);
  • 14 percent were not looking for work (n=73);
  • seven percent were full-time homemakers (n=34); and
  • four percent were retired or studying (n=22).

From 2011 to 2012, the most notable change to occur in employment status was a five percentage point increase in detainees looking for work (23% cf 28%) and a seven percentage point decrease in detainees not working due to disability (21% cf 14%). The employment status of detainees in 2011–12 was not notably different when compared with earlier years.

Examining the employment pattern by gender, there were a number of differences. Male detainees were more likely than females to report being in full-time employment (20% cf 11%) or unemployed and looking for work (29% cf 12%), whereas female detainees were more likely than males to be unemployed and not looking for work (21% cf 13%) or to be in the role of a full-time homemaker (20% cf 3%; see Table 63). Caution should be exercised when interpreting gender comparisons due to the overrepresentation of males in the sample.

From 2011 to 2012, the percentage of male detainees who reported being unemployed and looking for work increased by six percentage points (26% cf 32%); there was also a nine percentage point decrease in male detainees who were not working due to disability (22% cf 13%). For females, from 2011 to 2012, the percentage who reported being unemployed and not looking for work increased by 21 percentage points (11% cf 32%), while the percentage who were in the role of a full-time homemaker decreased by 17 percentage points (28% cf 11%).

Drug use

Urinalysis screening was conducted for five drug classes—amphetamines, benzodiazepine, cannabis, cocaine and opiates—and secondary screening tests were conducted for the opiate pharmacotherapy substances methadone and buprenorphine. In addition, confirmatory analysis was conducted for samples testing positive to amphetamines and opiates (not including pharmacotherapies). Opiates were then classified as either heroin or other opiates (including prescription opiates). Amphetamines were classified as methamphetamine, MDMA, or other amphetamines (including prescription amphetamines). In the 2011–12 collection period, the rate of urine collection was reduced compared with earlier collection periods; urine samples were collected for all four data collection quarters in 2011 and two out of the four data collection quarters in 2012.

Of the 209 Footscray detainees who provided a urine sample, 74 percent tested positive to at least one drug type (see Table 64)—a figure that was not notably different when compared with earlier years. However, in 2012, 70 percent of detainees tested positive to a drug, which is six percentage points lower than in 2011 and is the lowest rate of drug use recorded in Footscray since data collection began in 2006. The decline in drug use from 2011 to 2012 was partly driven by a decrease of 10 percentage points in the use of opiates (58% cf 48%). Despite this decline, in 2011–12, opiates (54%; including 46% heroin, 23% buprenorphine and 18% methadone—detainees can test positive to more than one substance) remained the drug most commonly detected in Footscray detainees. This was followed by cannabis (43%), benzodiazepines (34%) and amphetamines (21%; including 18% methamphetamine). Since 2009–10, opiate use has decreased by six percentage points (down from 60%) and benzodiazepine use has decreased by nine percentage points (down from 43%).

In 2011–12, female detainees were more likely than males to test positive to amphetamines (28% cf 19%), buprenorphine (41% cf 20%) and benzodiazepines (41% cf 33%), whereas male detainees were more likely than females to test positive to cannabis (46% cf 25%).

From 2011 to 2012, reductions in test positive results were seen for all drug categories. In addition to the decrease in test positive results for opiates mentioned earlier, there was a two percentage point decrease in cannabis (44% in 2011), a three percentage point decrease in amphetamines (22% in 2011) and a seven percentage point decrease in benzodiazepines (37% in 2011). In 2011–12, while buprenorphine use was low across the DUMA sample, it is interesting to note that urinalysis results indicated a high level of use in Footscray at 23 percent, which is comparable with the rate reported in 2009–10.

Self-reported alcohol use

Alcohol use among detainees cannot be reliably tested using urinalysis. Instead, the DUMA survey relies on a range of questions regarding recent and lifetime alcohol use, including whether the detainee had consumed alcohol in the 48 hours prior to their arrest. In 2011–12, 27 percent of Footscray detainees reported drinking in the 48 hours prior to arrest (see Table 65). Rates of recent alcohol consumption were slightly higher when compared with previous years. Male detainees were more likely than female detainees to report drinking alcohol in the 48 hours prior to arrest (29% cf 19%).

Alcohol consumption patterns

In 2011–12, 53 percent of Footscray detainees reported consuming at least one alcoholic drink in the 30 days prior their arrest (see Table 65). On the last occasion of drinking, 35 percent of these detainees consumed beer only, 15 percent consumed wine only and 37 percent consumed spirits only, with the remaining 13 percent having consumed at least two types of alcohol (referred to in the discussion below as mixed drinks) on the last occasion of drinking.

By quantity, the average number of standard drinks consumed on the last occasion was 16. This represents an increase in the average number of standard drinks reportedly consumed on the last occasion in 2009–10 (9 standard drinks). Beer-only drinkers consumed on average six standard drinks, wine-only drinkers consumed on average 20 standard drinks and spirit-only drinkers consumed on average six standard drinks on the last occasion. Those who mixed drinks tended to have the highest consumption rate, at 29 standard drinks on average (up from an average of 19 standard drinks in 2009–10). Although these figures are high, it should be noted that the length of time spent drinking on the last occasion would have varied from person to person and in some cases would have involved drinking sessions that lasted more than one day.

In 2011–12, differences between genders were seen in the type of alcohol consumed most recently by those who had consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days. Female detainees were more likely than males to have most recently consumed spirits only (47% cf 35%), while male detainees were more likely than females to have recently consumed beer only (39% cf 16%). On average, the quantity of beer and spirits consumed on the last occasion was higher among male detainees when compared with females, whereas the quantity of wine and mixed drinks was higher among female detainees than males (see Table 65).

Drug and alcohol treatment and mental health

In 2011–12, 120 detainees at Footscray reported that they were in drug or alcohol treatment at the time of their arrest. This figure represents approximately 40 percent of those who had used at least one illicit drug in the past 12 months and is one percentage point higher than was reported in 2009–10 (39%). Treatment options included support groups, counselling and pharmacotherapy. A further 88 detainees (29%) reported being previously in a treatment program, but were no longer in treatment at the time of their arrest. Of detainees currently in treatment, nine percent (n=11) had been referred by the courts or as a result of a legal order. The remaining 91 percent (n=108) were either self-referred to or referred by a health practitioner (see Table 66). Treatment access in 2011–12 has remained relatively consistent compared with earlier years.

Detainees were asked whether they had ever been diagnosed with depression, anxiety or any other mental health-related issue (that is, not just in the previous 12 months). In 2011–12, 48 percent of detainees reported that they had been diagnosed with a mental health-related issue (see Table 67), which was a seven percentage point increase compared with 2009–10 (41%). Female detainees were more likely than males to report having been diagnosed with a mental health-related issue (64% cf 44%). From 2011 to 2012, the percentage of detainees who reported a previous diagnosis was almost identical (47% cf 48%). Between 2011 and 2012, the percentage of female detainees who reported a previous diagnosis of a mental health-related issue decreased by two percentage points (65% cf 63%), whereas the percentage of male detainees who reported a previous diagnosis increased by three percentage points (42% cf 45%).

Linking drugs and crime

The link between drugs and crime is measured in the DUMA study using a range of indicators, including the extent to which drug use varies between offenders of different offence types and the extent to which an offender reported that drugs or alcohol were a contributing factor in their most recent offending.

Of the 199 respondents who provided a urine sample, 75 percent tested positive to at least one drug (see Table 68). However, by most serious offence type, the percentage of detainees testing positive to at least one drug type varied. Test positive rates by most serious offence classification are:

  • 98 percent for drug offenders (n=41);
  • 80 percent for property offenders (n=66); and
  • 46 percent for violent offenders (n=19).

Caution should be taken when making comparisons between offending categories and across collection periods, due to the presence of small cell sizes. In addition, in 2012, substantial changes were made to the DUMA methodology with regards to urine collection, limiting comparability of findings with previous collection periods.

While the prevalence of drug use varied somewhat between detainees depending on their offence, the pattern of use by drug type was relatively consistent across detainees who had tested positive to any drug. In 2011–12, opiates were the most commonly detected drug for Footscray detainees across all offender categories except disorder offenders, whose most commonly detected drug was cannabis. All offenders, except breach offenders, had higher rates of cannabis use when compared with benzodiazepines; breach offenders had equal levels of use of both these drug types (see Table 68).

DUMA detainees are asked specific questions to identify the relationship between substance use and the commission of the offence(s) for which they are held in custody at the time of interview. During 2011–12, almost half of all respondents (46%) reported that substance use contributed to their current offending. By most serious offence, drug/alcohol attribution rates were:

  • 83 percent for drug offenders (n=82);
  • 42 percent for property offenders (n=88); and
  • 26 percent for violent offenders (n=25).

Alcohol was more likely than drug use to be identified as a contributing factor by violent, drink driving and disorder offenders, whereas drug use was more likely than alcohol to be implicated by property, drug, traffic and breach offenders (see Table 68).

Table 60 Footscray DUMA sample, by age and gender, 2011–12
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Age (yrs)
18–20 51 12 14 14 65 13
21–25 55 13 19 19 74 14
26–30 81 20 15 15 96 19
31–35 84 20 13 13 97 19
36+ 143 35 40 40 183 36
Total 414 101 515
Min/max age 18/73 18/72 18/73
Mean age (median) 33(31) 33(32) 33(31)

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 61 Footscray DUMA sample, by offence and gender, 2011–12a
Male Female Total
Charges Detainees most serious offence Charges Detainees most serious offence Charges Detainees most serious offence
Charges recorded n % n % n % n % n % n %
Violent 102 17 83 22 18 12 13 13 120 16 96 20
Property 202 35 149 39 94 61 62 63 296 40 211 44
Drug 127 22 87 23 19 12 12 12 146 20 99 21
Drink driving 12 2 8 2 1 1 1 1 13 2 9 2
Traffic 24 4 2 1 6 4 1 1 30 4 3 1
Disorder 39 7 11 3 2 1 0 0 41 6 11 2
Breach 49 8 26 7 9 6 5 5 58 8 31 6
Other 29 5 15 4 6 4 4 4 35 5 19 4
Total 584 381 155 98 739 479

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 62 Footscray DUMA sample, by criminal history and gender, 2011–12a
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Prior charge history (past 12 months)
Yes 109 34 23 30 132 33
No 210 66 53 70 263 67
Prior prison history (past 12 months)
Yes 59 17 6 7 65 15
No 282 83 75 93 357 85

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 63 Footscray DUMA sample, by education, housing, employment and gender, 2011–12a
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Education
Year 10 or less 160 39 41 41 201 39
Year 11 or 12 86 21 14 14 100 19
TAFE/university not completed 66 16 15 15 81 16
Completed TAFE 76 18 24 24 100 19
Completed university 26 6 7 7 33 6
Total 414 101 515
Housing
Owned or rented by self 175 42 52 51 227 44
Someone else’s place 174 42 39 39 213 41
Shelter or emergency 3 1 3 3 6 1
Incarceration facility/halfway house 1 0 0 0 1 0
Treatment facility 2 0 1 1 3 1
No fixed residence 26 6 5 5 31 6
Other 33 8 1 1 34 7
Total 414 101 515
Employment
Full-time 81 20 11 11 92 18
Part-time 55 13 13 13 68 13
Have job but out due to illness/leave/strike/disability/seasonal work 76 18 18 18 94 18
Looking for work 120 29 12 12 132 26
Not looking for work 52 13 21 21 73 14
Full-time homemakers 14 3 20 20 34 7
Retired or studying 16 4 6 6 22 4
Total 414 101 515

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 64 Footscray DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and gender, 2011–12
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Provided urinea
Yes 177 56 32 42 209 53
No 141 44 44 58 185 47
Test results
Cannabis 82 46 8 25 90 43
Cocaine 6 3 0 0 6 3
Amphetaminesb 34 19 9 28 43 21
Methamphetamine 31 18 7 22 38 18
MDMA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other amphetamines 3 2 2 6 5 2
Opiatesc 97 55 16 50 113 54
Heroin 83 47 14 44 97 46
Methadone 32 18 6 19 38 18
Buprenorphine 35 20 13 41 48 23
Other opiates 3 2 0 0 3 1
Benzodiazepines 59 33 13 41 72 34
Any drug 135 76 19 59 154 74
Any drug other than cannabis 111 63 19 59 130 62
Multiple drugs 83 47 16 50 99 47

a: Percentages have been calculated for the quarters in which urine samples were requested, which in 2011 was all 4 quarters and in 2012 was 2 out of 4 quarters

b: Includes methamphetamine, MDMA and other amphetamines

c: Includes heroin, methadone, buprenorphine and other opiates

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 65 Footscray DUMA sample, by self-reported alcohol use and gender, 2011–12
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Alcohol use
Past 48 hoursa 118 29 19 19 137 27
Past 30 days 227 55 44 44 271 53
Alcohol type consumed on last drinking occasion
Beer only 89 39 7 16 96 35
Wine only 26 11 14 31 40 15
Spirits only 81 35 21 47 102 37
Mixed drinksb 33 14 3 7 36 13
Male Female Total
n mean (median) n mean (median) n mean (median)
Quantities consumed on last drinking occasion (standard drinks)
Beer only 89 6(5) 7 5(3) 96 6(5)
Wine only 26 19(12) 14 22(12) 40 20(12)
Spirits only 80 6(5) 20 4(4) 100 6(5)
Mixed drinksb 33 29(26) 3 32(37) 36 29(27)

a: Only if consumed alcohol in the past 30 days

b: ‘Mixed drinks’ refers to consuming more than one type of alcohol

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 66 Footscray DUMA sample, by drug and alcohol treatment and gender, 2011–12a,b
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Treatment
Never been in treatment 81 33 11 20 92 31
Been in, but not currently in treatment 67 27 21 38 88 29
Currently in treatment 97 40 23 42 120 40
Treatment referral of those currently in treatment
Drug court requirement 0 0 0 0 0 0
Court diversion scheme 2 2 0 0 2 2
Police diversion scheme 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other legal order 8 8 1 4 9 8
Otherc 86 90 22 96 108 91

a: Treatment options include detoxification, rehabilitation program/therapeutic community, outpatient/counselling services, support groups (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous etc), methadone maintenance, naltrexone, buprenorphine and general practitioners

b: Only of those who had used drugs or alcohol in the past 12 months

c: ‘Other’ refers to ‘referral from general practitioner or health professional’ and ‘self-referral’

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 67 Footscray DUMA sample, by mental health and gender, 2011–12a
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Ever been diagnosed or received treatment for depression, anxiety or any other mental health-related issueb
Yes 149 44 52 64 201 48
No 192 56 29 36 221 52

a: Sample sizes may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Includes developmental, somatoform, dissociative, sexual or gender identity, paraphilia, eating or adjustment disorders

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 68 Footscray DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and drug–crime attributions by most serious offending, 2011–12a
Violent Property Drug Drink driving Traffic Disorder Breach Other Total
n % n % n % n % n % n % n % n % n %
Urinalysis results
Cannabis 10 24 38 46 24 57 1 25 0 0 5 71 5 42 5 56 88 44
Cocaine 1 2 2 2 3 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 3
Amphetaminesb 5 12 20 24 13 31 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 25 2 22 43 22
Opiatesc 11 27 50 60 34 81 0 0 1 100 2 29 6 50 7 78 111 56
Benzodiazepines 6 15 34 41 18 43 0 0 1 100 2 29 5 42 4 44 70 35
(Any drug) 19 46 66 80 41 98 1 25 1 100 5 71 8 67 9 100 150 75
(Any drug other than cannabis) 14 34 58 70 37 88 0 0 1 100 2 29 8 67 8 89 128 64
(Multiple drugs) 7 17 46 55 31 74 0 0 1 100 2 29 5 42 5 56 97 49
(Total urine samples) 41 83 42 4 1 7 12 9 199
Self-reported drug–crime attributiond
Alcohol 17 18 19 9 2 2 9 100 0 0 4 36 2 6 1 5 54 11
Other drugs 10 10 79 37 82 83 0 0 1 33 0 0 7 23 3 16 182 38
Any attribution 25 26 88 42 82 83 9 100 1 33 4 36 8 23 4 21 221 46
(Total detainees interviewed) 96 211 99 9 3 11 31 19 479

a: Sample sizes may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Includes methamphetamine, MDMA and other amphetamines

c: Includes heroin, methadone, buprenorphine and other opiates

d: Missing data excluded from analysis

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Figure 16 Test positive trends, males by drug type, Footscray, 2006–12 (%)

Figure 16 Test positive trends, males by drug type, Footscray, 2006–12 (%)

Note: Data was not collected at this site during quarter 1 and 2, 2007 and quarters 2 and 4, 2012

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Figure 17 Test positive trends, females by drug type, Footscray, 2006–12 (%)

Figure 17 Test positive trends, females by drug type, Footscray, 2006–12 (%)

Note: Data was not collected at this site during quarters 1 and 2, 2007 and quarters 2 and 4, 2012

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]