The extent of violence inflicted on adolescent Aboriginal girls in the Northern Territory

Moore, Susan, Condon, John R., He, Vincent Y.F., Stothers, Kylie, Williams, Tamika, and Guthridge, Steven (2022) The extent of violence inflicted on adolescent Aboriginal girls in the Northern Territory. BMC Public Health, 22. 1627.

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Background: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are at very high risk of violence but there is little evidence about the age at which their higher exposure to violence commences. The aim of this study was to investigate violence inflicted on Aboriginal girls during childhood and adolescence, relative to Aboriginal boys and non-Aboriginal girls.

Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study using de-identified administrative data for NT residents aged 0-17 years. This study used linked hospital and child protection data to investigate hospitalization for injury caused by assault and substantiated child maltreatment involving violence (physical and sexual abuse).

Results: The incidence of assault hospitalization and substantiated physical/sexual abuse was much higher for Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal adolescents but similar for girls and boys to about age ten, then increased much more for Aboriginal girls than boys. In the 14-17 age-group, assault hospitalization incidence was 125% higher for Aboriginal girls than boys but 56% lower for non-Aboriginal girls than boys. 4.6% of Aboriginal girls were hospitalized (30.9% more than once) for assault between twelfth and eighteenth birthdays, compared to 3.4% of Aboriginal boys and 0.3% of non-Aboriginal girls. The incidence of assault hospitalization during adolescence was over three times higher for Aboriginal children who had substantiated child maltreatment during childhood.

Conclusion: The very high levels of violence suffered by Aboriginal women commence in the pre-teen years. Non-Aboriginal girls are ‘protected’ from the rising levels of violence that boys experience as they progress through adolescence, but Aboriginal girls are not afforded such protection.

Item ID: 77768
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2458
Keywords: Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples, Adolescent women, Assault hospitalization, Child protective services, Physical and sexual abuse Violence
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Funders: Northern Territory Government (NT)
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2023 21:37
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4409 Social work > 440902 Counselling, wellbeing and community services @ 50%
45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4504 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing > 450423 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and family social and emotional wellbeing @ 50%
SEO Codes: 21 INDIGENOUS > 2101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community services > 210199 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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