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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2004   
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Contents >> Crime and justice >> Crimes recorded by police

The number of victims of crimes recorded by police decreased between 2001 and 2002 for almost all of the offence categories listed in table 11.7. Declines were particularly noticeable for those offence categories related to the taking of property (such as robbery, unlawful entry with intent and theft offences), as indicated by graph 11.8. The largest proportional decreases were recorded for victims of armed robbery (30%), driving causing death (21%) and motor vehicle theft (19%). Increases were evident for four offence categories: manslaughter (29%), sexual assault (6%), assault (5%) and murder (2%).

11.7 VICTIMS AND VICTIMISATION RATES, By selected offences recorded by police

1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002

NUMBER

Homicide and related offences
n.a.
995
970
1,020
1,064
963
Murder
321
285
343
315
311
318
Attempted murder
318
387
359
393
460
396
Manslaughter
39
47
43
48
35
45
Driving causing death(a)
n.a.
276
225
264
258
204
Assault
124,500
130,903
134,271
138,708
152,283
159,548
Sexual assault
14,353
14,336
14,104
15,759
16,897
17,850
Kidnapping/abduction
562
705
766
693
767
696
Robbery
21,305
23,801
22,606
23,336
26,591
20,961
Armed robbery
9,054
10,850
9,452
9,483
11,233
7,817
Unarmed robbery
12,251
12,951
13,154
13,853
15,358
13,144
Blackmail/extortion
360
272
255
257
355
344
Unlawful entry with intent
421,569
434,376
415,735
436,968
435,754
394,374
Property theft
332,525
339,512
322,983
(b)n.a.
325,220
292,769
Other
89,044
94,864
92,752
(b)n.a.
110,534
101,605
Motor vehicle theft(c)
130,138
131,587
129,552
138,912
139,894
113,389
Other theft
530,881
563,482
612,559
681,268
700,137
679,460

RATE PER 100,000 PERSONS

Homicide and related offences
n.a.
5.3
5.1
5.3
5.5
4.9
Murder
1.7
1.5
1.8
1.6
1.6
1.6
Attempted murder
1.7
2.1
1.9
2.1
2.4
2.0
Manslaughter
0.2
0.3
0.2
0.3
0.2
0.2
Driving causing death(a)
n.a.
1.5
1.2
1.4
1.3
1.0
Assault
672.2
699.0
709.2
724.2
784.5
809.7
Sexual assault
77.5
76.6
74.5
82.3
87.1
90.6
Kidnapping/abduction
3.0
3.8
4.0
3.6
4.0
3.5
Robbery
115.0
127.1
119.4
121.8
137.0
106.4
Armed robbery
48.9
57.9
49.9
49.5
57.9
39.7
Unarmed robbery
66.1
69.2
69.5
72.3
79.1
66.7
Blackmail/extortion
1.9
1.5
1.3
1.3
1.8
1.7
Unlawful entry with intent
2,276.2
2,319.5
2,195.7
2,281.4
2,244.9
2,001.4
Property theft
1,795.4
1,812.9
1,705.8
(b)n.a.
1,675.5
1,485.8
Other
480.8
506.6
489.9
(b)n.a.
569.5
515.6
Motor vehicle theft(c)
702.7
702.7
684.2
725.2
720.7
575.4
Other theft
2,866.4
3,008.9
3,235.2
3,556.8
3,607.0
3,448.2

(a) A change in the recording practices for driving causing death offences in NSW resulted in incomplete counts for this offence in 1997.
(b) A change in the legislation related to unlawful entry with intent (UEWI) offences in SA resulted in an inability to provide UEWI disaggregated into property theft and other for 2000.
(c) Counts for motor vehicle theft prior to 1997 are not directly comparable with those for other years as WA included the theft of caravans and trailers in addition to motor vehicle theft.
Source: Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia, 2002 (4510.0).

Graph 11.8 shows the change in the number of victims of crime for selected offence categories.

Graph - 11.8 Victims, Change in number - 2001 to 2002


Personal crime

Based on reports to police, males were more likely than females to be victims of personal crime, with the exception of sexual assault and kidnapping/abduction (graph 11.9). The recorded sexual assault victimisation rate for females (144.5 female victims per 100,000 females) was more than four times the male victimisation rate (33.1 male victims per 100,000 males).

Graph - 11.9 Victims, Offence categories - 2002


As table 11.7 shows, assault is the most common category of offence recorded against the person. Police recorded 159,548 victims of assault during 2002, a 5% increase over the previous year and 28% higher than in 1997. The assault victimisation rate in 2002 was 809.7 victims per 100,000 persons, up from 784.5 in 2001 and 672.2 per 100,000 persons in 1997. In fact, the 2002 recorded assault victimisation rate is the highest it has been since national assault statistics were first collected in 1995.

In 2002, the recorded sexual assault victimisation rate also reached its highest level since national sexual assault records began in 1993. The number of cases of sexual assault recorded in 2002 (17,850) represents an increase of 24% over the number recorded in 1997 (14,353). The 2002 sexual assault victimisation rate (90.6 victims per 100,000 persons) is 17% higher than the rate in 1997 (77.5 per 100,000 persons).

In 2002, there were 318 victims of murder, representing a rate of 1.6 victims per 100,000 persons. The annual recorded counts for murder victims in Australia have fluctuated over the period 1997 to 2002, partly due to some specific incidents: in South Australia in 1999, where 12 bodies were discovered at Snowtown; in Western Australia in 1999, where 9 victims resulted from 2 family murder/suicide incidents; and in Queensland in 2000, where 15 victims of the fire at Childers were recorded. Despite this fluctuation in the number of murder victims, the rate has remained relatively stable over the last six years, ranging from 1.5 to 1.8 murder victims per 100,000 persons.

Property crime

Unlawful entry with intent (UEWI) and other theft are the most frequently occurring property offences. The UEWI victimisation rate decreased by 12% between 1997 and 2002 to be 2,001 victims per 100,000 persons in 2002, and is the lowest rate since national records began in 1993. The 2002 rate for other theft was 3,448 victims per 100,000 persons, 4% lower than in 2001, but representing a 20% increase since 1997. The victimisation rate for motor vehicle theft is at its lowest rate since 1993. The 2002 motor vehicle theft rate of 575 victims per 100,000 persons was 20% lower than in the previous year and 18% lower than in 1997.

Age and sex of victims

Young people aged 15-24 years experienced the highest levels of recorded crime victimisation for the selected offence categories (table 11.10). Males experienced higher recorded assault rates across all age groups. For the offence category of assault, the rates for all 15-24 year olds were approximately twice the national average for all age groups. Robbery and sexual assault rates for the 15-19 year age group were more than three times the national average. The robbery rate for 20-24 year olds was more than twice the national average. Males and females aged 65 and over experienced the lowest level of crime victimisation for the offence categories of assault, sexual assault and kidnapping/abduction.

11.10 VICTIMISATION RATES(a) OF SELECTED CRIMES(b) - 2002

Offence category

Age group (years)
Murder
Attempted
murder
Driving causing
death
Assault
Sexual
assault
Kidnapping/
abduction
Robbery(c)
Blackmail/
extortion(c)

MALES

0-9
1.0
1.0
0.2
144.1
86.7
3.0
4.4
-
10-14
n.p.
0.4
0.6
714.9
90.1
3.9
126.8
0.6
15-19
2.4
3.1
3.4
1,793.0
64.1
7.1
526.6
3.0
20-24
3.2
6.2
4.0
1,934.8
30.7
6.9
336.9
3.4
25-34
2.7
5.4
1.3
1,651.4
19.6
2.1
153.3
2.4
35-44
2.8
3.8
1.1
1,064.9
13.9
0.9
82.3
3.2
45-54
1.9
1.6
1.0
655.4
4.9
1.1
61.6
3.0
55-64
1.3
0.3
0.3
352.7
2.8
0.3
39.6
1.3
65 and over
1.0
0.5
1.0
124.9
1.1
n.p.
20.3
0.8
All ages(d)
2.0
2.7
1.3
929.4
33.1
2.5
124.8
2.0

FEMALES

0-9
0.3
0.6
n.p.
93.6
194.0
4.5
0.5
-
10-14
n.p.
n.p.
0.5
479.7
461.7
9.8
19.4
-
15-19
0.6
1.6
1.5
1,330.3
499.1
15.4
120.7
1.3
20-24
2.0
1.8
0.9
1,418.1
209.6
7.1
119.9
1.7
25-34
2.3
1.5
0.6
1,160.8
124.0
5.2
65.3
1.0
35-44
1.6
1.9
0.3
764.9
65.0
1.8
49.2
1.3
45-54
1.2
1.2
0.5
400.9
27.5
0.9
42.0
1.0
55-64
1.0
0.6
n.p.
169.3
11.1
0.5
34.4
0.8
65 and over
0.4
0.2
0.5
57.3
5.8
0.3
27.0
0.4
All ages(d)
1.2
1.2
0.5
640.7
144.5
4.4
49.1
0.8

PERSONS

0-9
0.7
0.8
0.2
120.2
139.7
3.7
2.6
-
10-14
0.3
0.3
0.5
602.1
272.3
6.7
74.7
0.4
15-19
1.5
2.5
2.5
1,580.5
277.6
11.1
331.9
2.2
20-24
2.6
4.2
2.5
1,728.7
121.1
7.6
236.3
2.5
25-34
2.6
3.5
0.9
1,436.5
73.5
3.8
112.4
1.7
35-44
2.2
3.0
0.7
931.8
40.5
1.4
67.0
2.3
45-54
1.6
1.4
0.8
536.0
16.5
1.0
52.5
2.0
55-64
1.2
0.5
0.3
264.9
7.0
0.4
37.8
1.1
65 and over
0.7
0.3
0.7
88.4
3.7
0.2
24.4
0.6
All ages(d)
1.6
2.0
1.0
809.7
90.6
3.5
88.9
1.5

(a) Rate per 100,000 population.
(b) As recorded by police forces in all jurisdictions.
(c) Refers to individual person victims only and therefore does not include organisations as victims.
(d) Includes victims for whom age and/or sex was not specified.
Source: Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia, 2002 (4510.0).

Weapons used against victims of crime

Of the offences shown in table 11.11, a weapon was most likely to have been used in an attempted murder (75%) and murder (53%), and least likely in sexual assault offences (2%). With the exception of assault, a knife was the most common type of weapon used and was involved in 35% of attempted murders, 23% of murders and 19% of robberies. A firearm was involved in 22% of attempted murders, 13% of murders and 6% of robberies. The most common use of a syringe as a weapon was for the offence categories of robbery (350 victims) and assault (161 victims).

11.11 VICTIMS(a), By use of weapon in commission of offence - 2002

Offence category

Weapon use
Murder
Attempted
murder
Assault
Sexual
assault
Kidnapping/
abduction
Robbery

NUMBER (no.)

Weapon used
Firearm
42
87
675
27
34
1,168
Knife
72
138
5,540
139
62
4,047
Syringe
-
-
161
4
3
350
Other weapon
38
53
12,834
92
24
1,290
Total(b)
167
297
19,855
265
130
7,817
No weapon used
151
99
139,693
17,585
566
13,144
Total(c)
318
396
159,548
17,850
696
20,961

PROPORTION (%)

Weapon used
Firearm
13.2
22.0
0.4
0.2
4.9
5.6
Knife
22.6
34.8
3.5
0.8
8.9
19.3
Syringe
-
-
0.1
-
0.4
1.7
Other weapon
11.9
13.4
8.0
0.5
3.4
6.2
Total(b)
52.5
75.0
12.4
1.5
18.7
37.3
No weapon used
47.5
25.0
87.6
98.5
81.3
62.7
Total(c)
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

(a) The definition of a victim varies according to the category of the offence.
(b) Includes offences where a weapon was used but was not further defined.
(c) Includes offences where weapon use was not known or not stated.
Source: Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia, 2002 (4510.0).

Between 1993 and 2002 the proportion of murders, attempted murders and robberies involving the use of a weapon decreased (graph 11.12). The proportion of murders involving the use of a weapon peaked in 1996 at 78% while the proportion of attempted murders involving the use of a weapon peaked in 1997 at 87%.

The proportion of robberies where a weapon was used has fluctuated from 36% in 1994 and 1995 to 46% in 1998. Since 1998, this proportion has declined to 37%. For those robberies that involved the use of a weapon, the proportion of offences involving firearms decreased from 37% in 1993 to 15% in 2002.

Graph - 11.12 Victims, Weapon used in commission of offence


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