Helping hands: understanding Vietnamese offenders in Victoria

Migrants Crime prevention Early intervention services Organised crime Crime Victoria

The Vietnamese community is the largest refugee community in Australia. The number of Vietnamese grew from 1,000 people in 1975 to 277,400 in 2016 or 1.2 per cent of the Australian population (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017).

This report is the outcome of a pilot project on Vietnamese offenders conducted in Victoria in 2020–2021.

The project was prompted by concern in the Vietnamese community regarding the disproportionate representation of Vietnamese in the correctional system. The imprisonment rate of Vietnam-born is 20 per cent higher than the national average at 316.3 prisoners per 100,000 adult population compared to the national rate of 261.4 prisoners per 100,000 adult population (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020c).

The aim of the project is to shed light on the life trajectories that led Vietnamese offenders into the correctional system, their experiences pre- and post-release, and the value of culturally specific and community-based support services.

The report also seeks to build understanding of the continuing impact of postwar trauma among the Vietnamese—especially in Australian institutions that deliver support programs for the Vietnamese community—and the need for further community-based interventions.

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