Australia NSW terror offenders rare, male and young
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Terrorism offenders in NSW are few in number and predominantly young men who are caught while still in the planning stage.
Only 48 offenders have been found guilty in NSW courts since specific terrorism offences were introduced in 2002, according to the latest report from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.
They have committed 72 proven terrorism offences altogether.
About two thirds of those offences were discovered through proactive policing before an actual terrorist act had occurred.
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Some two in five of the offences were for planning terrorist acts.
The second-largest category was breaches of control and supervision orders, making up 21 per cent of crimes.
Almost all terrorism offenders - 94 per cent - were sentenced to time in prison.
Offenders tended to come from similar demographic backgrounds: 96 per cent were male, 90 per cent were non-Aboriginal, most lived in a major city, and the median age by the time court proceedings wrapped up was 26.
BOCSAR says the "average terrorism offender" is a "a non-Aboriginal male, aged between 18 and 30 years at the time of court finalisation, from a major city, and predominantly from an area of socio-economic disadvantage."
There are notable exceptions, including people coming from the lowest end of socio-economic disadvantage.
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The findings are similar to a 2018 Victoria Police study, which found that all but one of the 41 people charged with terrorism offences between 2005 and 2018 were male. Forty-seven per cent were aged between 21 and 25.
Most terrorism offenders in NSW had previously been convicted of other crimes. Only 40 per cent could be considered terrorism "specialists", BOCSAR says.
For offenders who had been convicted of non-terrorism offences, they were mainly offences against justice procedures, government security or government operations.
None had convictions for sexual assault or related offences.
The report calls for more research into how much terrorism offenders specialise, so that programs or interventions that aim to reduce terrorism offending can be better designed.
BOCSAR suggests it could be problematic to treat terrorism offenders as a homogeneous group because terrorism includes a wide range of offences, and because we don't know enough about how different terrorism offenders are from other criminals.
Despite calls from experts, there is no routine government reporting on terrorism offending.
Surprisingly little is known about terrorism offending in Australia, BOCSAR says.
Qld govt urged to rethink youth crime plan .
Community groups are urging the Queensland government in invest in social services that divert young people away from crime rather than increasing punishments.Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a crackdown on young offenders such as allowing courts to fit 16 and 17-year-olds with GPS trackers and removing the presumption of bail for those caught committing serious offences while on bail.