An end-of-year report into suicides of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria has recently been released by the state’s Coroners Court.

Developed by the Coroners Koori Engagement Unit (CKEU) and Coroners Prevention Unit (CPU) using data drawn from the Victorian Suicide Register, the report has been compiled to inform and assist Indigenous-led initiatives which aim to reduce suicide rates across Victorian Aboriginal communities.

The Victorian suicides of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – 2020 end-of-year update, compares data from 2019 and 2020 and found there was no improvement on the annual rate of suicides in the state, with 21 passings in both years.

It follows a mid-year data report which revealed Indigenous Victorians have died by suicide at twice the rate of the state’s non-Indigenous population in the last ten-years.

Troy Williamson is a proud Yuin man and Manager of the Coroners Koori Engagement Unit which he says, “provides culturally safe support to families who have lost a loved one and ensures cultural protocols are in place within the Coroners Court.”

“The Coroners Koori Engagement Unit is uniquely placed in Victoria to produce this significant resource.”

“Accurate data and insights ultimately empower people to play their role and gives our Mob the self-determination to help drive real change.”

“We have worked hard to improve Identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicides and it is crucial that this information is given back to our people in support of self-determination.” 

“In 2020, Victoria had one of the country’s highest suicide rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. More needs to be done and I hope this report can assist in the development of programs to improve outcomes for our people.”

Other key findings in the end-of-year report include:

  • Suicide frequencies remain higher amongst males than females (61.9% male, 38.1% female).
  • Males between 45–54 (30.8%), 25–34 (26.9%) and 35–44 (15.4%) continue to be most at risk.
  • Amongst females, those aged 18–24 (43.8%) and 25–34 (37.5%) are the highest risk groups.  
  • As seen in the previous report, frequencies of suicides are higher in regional areas (57.1%) compared to metropolitan areas (42.9%).

Troy Williamson speaks to NIRS about the importance of the report.

A copy of the report can be accessed here