Developmental prevention involves the manipulation of multiple risk and protective factors early in developmental pathways that lead to offending, often at transition points between life phases. The emphasis is not just on individuals but also their social contexts. Risk and protective factors for crime and violence in Aboriginal communities include such standard factors as child abuse, school failure and supportive family environments, but additional factors arise from unique aspects of Aboriginal history, culture and social structure. This paper draws on existing literature, interviews with urban Aboriginal community workers, and data from the Sibling Study to delineate those interrelated risk factors (forced removals, dependence, institutionalised racism, cultural features and substance use) and the equally interrelated protective factors (cultural resilience, personal controls and family control measures). These are ‘meta factors’ that provide a lens through which the standard lists can be interpreted, and are a starting point for the understanding of indigenous developmental pathways.