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Topics @ a Glance - National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics
Using Crime and Justice Statistics
Frequently asked questions
 
 


CRIME
COURTS
PRISONERS AND CORRECTIONS
CLASSIFICATIONS
FURTHER INFORMATION


CRIME

Q. How much crime occurs in Australia each year?
A. A definitive measure of crime cannot be ascertained, however two major sources of data produced by the ABS can inform the user about crime victimisation. The annual Crime Victimisation, Australia publication (cat. no. 4530.0) contains data about victims for a selected range of personal and household offences sourced from direct reports from members of the public about their experiences of crime as collected in an ABS household survey. The annual publication Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia (cat. no. 4510.0) has data on the number of victims of crimes reported to and recorded by police for a selected range of offences.

Q. How much crime is reported to police?
A. The ABS conducts a National Crime Victimisation Survey and results are published in Crime Victimisation, Australia (cat. no. 4530.0). This publication contains data on reporting rates to police for a selected range of personal and household offences.

Q. Are there any regional level breakdowns for crime?
A. Limited breakdowns are available in state-based publications such as:

Note: For further information on data available at the regional level please refer to the theme pages for Regional Statistics.

Q. Do you have information on the number and types of goods stolen from people's homes such as theft of mobile phones or computers?
A. The National Crime Victimisation Survey collects information on household break-in and theft from a motor vehicle and asks respondents to list items that were stolen. Data is available at the national level in Crime Victimisation, Australia (cat. no. 4530.0) for the number of households where a mobile phone or computer was stolen in the most recent incident of break-in, and for the number of households where a mobile phone was stolen in the most recent incident of theft from a motor vehicle.

The publication Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia (cat. no. 4510.0) has data on the number of victims (victims in property offences are defined as place/premise) of theft (offence category 'Unlawful entry with intent - property theft' and 'Unlawful entry with intent - other'), and some data on victims by the location of the criminal incident, including residential dwellings.

Q. Does the ABS publish monthly breakdowns of crime?
A. These data are not included in the Recorded Crime publication but may be available as a special data service on request. Note that data are not quality assured at the monthly level. A quote on costs, data limitations and any conditions of use will be provided on application. Please see the Contacts section in these pages to request data. Monthly data are published by some state and territory agencies, including:
Q. How likely am I to be a victim of a crime?
A. The publication Crime Victimisation, Australia (cat. no. 4530.0) contains data on the victimisation rates for personal crime and household crime. Also, Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia (cat. no. 4510.0) includes rates per 100,000 persons.

Q. How likely am I to be assaulted by a stranger?
A. The publication Crime Victimisation, Australia (cat. no. 4530.0) contains data on victims of robbery, physical assault and face-to-face threatened assault and whether the offender was known to the victim. Also the annual publication Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia (cat. no. 4510.0) has data on the Relationship of Offender to Victim (ROV) for selected personal offences and selected states and territories.

Q. Where does crime occur?
A. The publication Crime Victimisation, Australia (cat. no. 4530.0) contains data on the most common locations for physical assault, face-to-face threatened assault, motor vehicle theft, theft from a motor vehicle and other theft. The annual publication Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia (cat. no. 4510.0) has details on location of criminal incident by type of offence for crimes recorded by police and is a useful source of data on locations of property crimes such as burglaries.

Q. What are the characteristics and associated risk factors of victims of crime?
A.Crime Victimisation, Australia (cat. no. 4530.0) contains data on the demographic characteristics of victims such as age, sex, marital status, country of birth, area of usual residence, level of highest non-school qualification, labour force status, and main source of personal income. The annual publication Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia (cat. no. 4510.0) has details on victims by age, sex, relationship to offender, location of incident, type of weapon used, and outcome of investigations.

Q. Are there statistics available on family violence?
A. The annual publication Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia (cat. no. 4510.0) contains data about the relationship of an offender to a victim (ROV) which includes categories such as 'partner', 'ex-partner' and 'other family member'. Data is provided for a select range of personal offences and for selected states and territories. The publication Crime Victimisation, Australia (cat. no. 4530.0) contains data on the relationship of the offender to the victim for physical assault and face-to-face threatened assault. The Personal Safety Survey 2005 (cat. no. 4906.0) also provides information about people's experiences of partner (current and previous) violence, as well as violence occurring within other family relationships. Further information about these and other sources of statistical data relating to family violence, is available in the publication Directory of Family and Domestic Violence Statistics, 2011 (cat. no. 4533.0).


COURTS

Q. How many court trials result in a guilty verdict?
A. The annual publication Criminal Courts, Australia (cat. no. 4513.0) contains data by court level (higher courts, magistrates' courts and children's courts) on the number and proportion of defendants that are acquitted or have a guilty verdict (i.e. proven guilty). State breakdowns and data on other key outcomes are also included.

Q. Is there information available on the timeliness of the courts system?
A. Information on the duration of finalised defendants from initiation to finalisation is available within the annual publication Criminal Courts, Australia (cat. no. 4513.0). Additional information is available in the Productivity Commission's Report on Government Services, accessible at: http://www.pc.gov.au.

Q. What information is available on the number of defendants before the courts by the type of offence committed?
A. The annual publication Criminal Courts, Australia (cat. no. 4513.0) contains a range of information on the type of offences committed by defendants using the concept of principal offence, whereby each defendant is represented by the most serious offence for which they have been finalised. The seriousness of offences is determined using the National Offence Index (cat. no. 1234.0.55.001). Defendant level information by court level on offences is available with respect to the method of finalisation and sentence type for those found guilty. Also, the annual publication Federal Defendants, Selected States and Territories (cat. no. 4515.0) contains information on the types of federal offences committed using both the ABS Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC) (cat. no. 1234.0) and a non-standard set of offence outputs. Federal Defendants, Selected States and Territories (cat. no. 4515.0) also includes information on sentence outcomes for defendants found guilty of federal offences.

Q. What are the profiles of offenders who commit crimes?
A. The annual publication Recorded Crime - Offenders (cat. no. 4519.0) presents information on the number and characteristics of alleged offenders aged 10 years or more who were proceeded against by police during the 12 month reference period. The annual publication Criminal Courts, Australia (cat. no. 4513.0) contains data on the age and sex of defendants before the courts as well as the type of offence committed, and sentence outcome. The quarterly publication Corrective Services, Australia (cat. no. 4512.0) contains information on prisoners by sex, legal status, sentence type, Indigenous status and community based orders. The annual publication Prisoners in Australia (cat. no. 4517.0) has data on prisoners by age, sex, Indigenous status, legal status, previous imprisonment and most serious offence.

Q. What is the average prison sentence given to defendants found guilty by the courts?
A. While this information is not contained in the publication on the courts, there is some information on sentencing in Prisoners in Australia (cat. no. 4517.0). It contains details on sentenced prisoners by length of sentence, level of court, and most serious offence.


PRISONERS AND CORRECTIONS

Q. What are the number and rates of Indigenous prisoners? Is there information on comparisons by States or comparisons with all prisoners?
A. These data are available in the annual Prisoners in Australia (cat. no. 4517.0) and in the quarterly Corrective Services, Australia (cat. no. 4512.0).

Q. Is there any information on prisoners by country of birth?
A. Yes. These data are available in Prisoners in Australia (cat. no. 4517.0), in addition to other demographic characteristics such as age, sex and Indigenous Status.

Q. Are there any historical data available on prisoners?
A. The publication Prisoners in Australia (cat. no. 4517.0) contains summary tables for the last ten years with numbers and rates of prisoners by state and territory including prison population characteristics, aggregate sentence length and legal status. The quarterly Corrective Services, Australia (cat. no. 4512.0) presents data for the last three years, as well as data for the last eight quarters for both the custodial and community based corrections populations.

Q. What is the cost of keeping offenders in prison?
A. These data are not collected by ABS but some information is available in the Productivity Commission's Report on Government Services, accessible at:http://www.pc.gov.au.

Q. What information is available on Aboriginal deaths in custody?
A. These data are not collected by ABS but some information is available in the Productivity Commission's Report on Government Services, accessible at:http://www.pc.gov.au. Additionally, the Australian Institute of Criminology publishes special reports on 'Deaths in Custody' in their publication series Trends and Issues as part of the National Deaths in Custody Program (NDICP) (see also Technical and Background Paper No. 12; Crime Facts Info No. 88). See the Australian Institute of Criminology web site: http://www.aic.gov.au. The Deaths in Custody data is also available in the ABS publication Year Book Australia, 2009-10 (cat. no. 1301.0) in the Crime and Justice chapter.


CLASSIFICATIONS

Q. What is the difference between burglary, theft and robbery?
A. The Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC) 2011 (cat. no. 1234.0) contains detailed information on the differences between these offence categories. Theft is stealing from a person or organisation where there is no illegal entry (see details in ANZSOC under category 081). Robbery is stealing from a person with the use, and/or threatened use, of immediate force or violence (see ANZSOC category 061 for more details). Burglary is stealing from a property (structure) which involves unlawful entry, where the entry is either forced or unforced (see ANZSOC category 071 for more detail).


FURTHER INFORMATION

Q. Is there more information available than what is published in the crime and justice publications?
A. There are some data which are not included in the main publications but are available as a special data service on request. There are some charges involved in providing this information and a quote can be obtained for each request. Please see the Contacts section in these pages.



Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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