A One-Day Snapshot of Aboriginal Youth in Custody Across Canada

Chapter 2 - National Overview (continued)

2.4 Most Serious Charge

Figure 2.6 and Table 2.2 describes the most serious charge/alleged offence (MSC) committed by Aboriginal youth serving remand on Snapshot day. In comparison to the MSO analysis, youth on remand were more likely to be associated with a crime against the person. The same proportion of Aboriginal youth serving remand was charged with a property offence and an offence against the person (39% each), followed by other Criminal Code offences (18%), other Federal and Provincial Statutes (3%) and drug offences (1%). [1]

Figure 2.6 Most Serious Charge - Remand

Figure 2.6 - Most Serious Charge - Remand
[Description]

Source: One-Day Snapshot of Aboriginal Youth in Custody (2001).
Prepared by: Research and Statistics Division, Department of Justice Canada .

Of those charged with an offence against the person, 21% were charged for assault with a weapon/causing bodily harm, 20% for robbery, and 19% for assault. Of those charged for a property-related offence, one-half (50%) were charged with break and enter, while 25% were charged with theft (see Table 2.3).

A larger proportion of male than female Aboriginal youth was charged with a property-related offence (45% versus 19%). Meanwhile, a larger proportion of female than male Aboriginal youth was charged with an offence against the person (51% versus 35%). Females were more likely than males to be charged with other Criminal Code offences (28% and 14% respectively) (see Table 2.2).

Similar to the analysis of MSO, males were more likely to be charged with robbery, while females were more likely to be charged with assault. Of the males charged with an offence against the person, the largest proportion was charged with robbery (25%), followed by assault with a weapon/causing bodily harm (23%), and murder/attempted murder (19%). In comparison, 31% of the females charged with a crime against the person were charged with assault, followed by 29% who were charged with aggravated assault (see Table 2.3).

Table 2.4 illustrates the relationship between most serious charge (MSC) and age. Contrary to the analysis of age and MSO, there is some evidence to suggest that younger youth were as likely as older youth to be charged with a crime against the person, while older youth were more likely to be charged with a property offence. Forty-four percent of the 12-13 year olds had an MSC for a crime against the person, compared to 42% of the 16-17 year olds, 47% of those 18 years of age and olds, and 30% of the 14-15 year olds. Meanwhile, 49% of the 14-15 year olds had an MSC for a property-related offence, compared to 37% of the 16-17 year olds, 30% of those 18 years of age and older, and 28% of the 12-13 year olds. However, due to small cell sizes, these results must be interpreted with caution.


[1] The analysis of MSC involves much smaller numbers in comparison to MSO; hence, the figures in this section are more susceptible to large fluctuations when calculating proportions (they are more volatile).

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