Does the South Sudanese community commit more crime than their fellow Australians? Is Melbourne really in the throes of ‘African gang’ violence?
The answer, definitively, is no, according to a statement issued by Diversity Council Australia (DCA).
The statement, timed to coincide with the release of a ground-breaking new podcast, moves the African gangs debate beyond words and speculation to facts, reporting that:
- Australians born in Sudan make up 0.1 per cent of Victoria’s total population and constitute just 1 per cent of alleged offenders in Victoria.
- While there is an overrepresentation of Sudanese-born in Victorian crime statistics, including serious assault, these offenders account for a minority of the actual proportion of crime experienced by Australians. You are more than 25 times more likely to be seriously assaulted by someone born in Australia or New Zealand than someone born in Sudan or Kenya.
- Rather than Australia being in the grip of an ‘African youth crime wave’, statistics indicate we are actually safer than we have been in over a decade. In 2017, Victoria experienced its biggest crime drop in 12 years, where the total crime rate fell by 6.2 per cent. Crime perpetrated by youth in Victoria (under 25 years of age) has also fallen from half of all incidents in 2007-2008 to 40 per cent in 2015-2016
The data accompanies DCA’s flagship new production, The Art of Inclusion.
The first episode in the new six-part series features South Sudanese-born lawyer and activist Nyadol Nyuon. In it, she reflects on the human toll behind the African gangs headlines.
“Words are so important,” she said. “Someone who is just writing a newspaper cannot know the consequences that flow through the Sudanese community. The consequences of heightened discrimination at workplaces, for example. Or the harassment we get on the street because people treat Sudanese or Africans as a lump.
“All this because of words, and the hate they can generate.”
The Art of Inclusion podcast will address some of the most important issues facing Australian workplaces and society today, and feature the big names associated with them.
As well as Nyadol, stories from journalist Tracey Spicer, MP Linda Burney, and former Paralympian Annabelle Williams all feature. Race relations expert Tim Soutphommasane and Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins provide expert comment, alongside other leading thinkers in Australia.
The series itself will deal with everything from gender to mental health and disability, through to inclusion of LGBTIQ+ and Indigenous communities.
DCA CEO Lisa Annese said: “This podcast has its finger on the pulse of the key issues facing Australian workplaces and society today.
“And not only does it address these big issues, it attempts to offer solutions, so we don’t take our nation’s cohesion and progress for granted in times that, quite frankly, offer plenty to be worried about.
“Anyone who cares about Australian society must listen to this podcast, and be part of the solution.”
About the Art of Inclusion
The Art of Inclusion peers into the lives of fascinating people, whose stories shed light on the wider social issues facing Australia, and the world.
We flip the script on who we include, who we don’t, and how we can do better in everything from gender, race, mental health and disability, through to the inclusion of LGBTQI+ and Indigenous communities.
Over six episodes, we will hear the stories of politicians, journalists, athletes and executives.
Experts and policy makers score their incredible stories with advice on how to master The Art of Inclusion.