Māori, disabled, sexually diverse more likely to be victims of crime, new data shows

Nearly 30 per cent of adults were victims of crime in the last year, while Māori, people with disabilities and those who are sexually diverse were more likely to be victims, according to new crime data. 

File image. Source:

The Ministry of Justice survey also showed burglaries fell after the Covid-19 lockdown.

It compared data from 2018 to 2020, with 7425 New Zealanders over age 15 questioned about personal or household crime experienced in the last 12 months.  

The report also found that just two per cent of New Zealand adults experienced a third of all crime.

Only a quarter of all crime was reported to police, the report suggested, with theft of motor vehicles having the highest likelihood (91 per cent) of being reported, while reporting of sexual offences at just eight per cent. 

Reasons for not reporting interpersonal violence, sexual assault and physical offence incidents were shame, embarrassment and further humiliation, or fear of retaliation or that it would make it worse.

Three quarters of sexual assault victims did not think the incident was a crime. 

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A Ministry of Justice survey also found Māori are most likely to be victims of crime. Source: Breakfast

Two per cent of all those surveyed experienced sexual assault in the last 12 months, with three quarters of those against women. 

"Sexual assault affected adults in all population groups, but some more than others," the report stated. 

"Sexual assault affected both people with diverse sexualities and females aged 15–19 at more than four times the national average (nine per cent compared with two per cent)."

People with disabilities were significantly more likely to experience crime.

Thirty-seven per cent of people with diverse sexualities reported being a victim of a crime, with the amount of bisexual people who had been a victim of a crime at 47 per cent.

Māori were significantly more likely to experience crime, with a higher proportion victimised each year than any other ethnic group.

Thirty-eight per cent of Māori were victims of crime, compared to 30 cent of the New Zealand population. 

The report stated that it could be impacted by demographic factors such as age and socio-economic factors. The report also found that Māori experienced a significant reduction in the proportion of households that experienced burglary or other household offences. 

Twenty-nine per cent of adults were victimised at least once in the previous 12 months, with the most common offences being fraud and deception, harassment and threatening behaviour and burglary. 

In the latest figures, burglaries fell by two per cent last year, falling significantly after the Covid-19 lockdown last year. 

Ministry of Justice deputy secretary Tim Hampton said there was already a downward trend in burglaries before the Covid-19 lockdown, "and this trend appears to have to accelerated since then".

The report said that in more than half of sexual assaults reported in the survey, the person was known to the victim. Thirty per cent took place in business or retail locations, 10 per cent in public places and about half in residential properties. 

Thirty-five per cent of women and 12 per cent of men had experienced sexual assault in their lifetimes, and one in five aged 15-19 experiencing sexual assault at least once in their lifetime. 

"About 23 per cent of females and nine per cent of males who have ever had a partner had experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Adults with disability were at increased risk of having experienced both sexual assault and intimate partner violence during their lifetime."

Women who were separated or divorced "are significantly more likely to be victimised than other adults, while males who are married, in a civil union, or in a de facto relationship are significantly less likely to be victimised". 

Crimes included in the report were personal and household offences, whether they were reported to the police or not. 

Offences not included manslaughter and murder, abduction, commercial crimes, crimes against people who do not live in permanent private homes or those living in institutions including prison and army barracks, and crimes against children 14 and under.