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4510.0 - Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia, 2007 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/06/2008   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES


INTRODUCTION

1 This publication presents national statistics relating to victimisation incidents for a selected range of offences recorded by police during the 2007 calendar year. These offences may have been reported by a victim, witness or other person, or they may have been detected by police. They provide indicators of the level and nature of these offence incidents as well as changes over time.

2 These statistics are not designed to provide counts of either the total number of victims nor the total number of individual offences that come to the attention of police as:

  • The same victim may be counted more than once in incidents involving multiple offences where these offences are of different types (i.e. belong to different Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC) divisions) or if the same person is a victim on more than one occasion in the same reference year and reports these incidents to police on separate occasions.
  • Conversely, for an incident involving multiple offences that belong to the same ASOC division offence category, only the most serious offence within that ASOC division will be counted. For further information refer to paragraphs 109-114.


SCOPE

3 The scope of this collection includes victims of attempted and completed offences classified to divisions and/or subdivisions of ASOC. Selected offences include:
  • homicide and related offences (including murder, attempted murder, manslaughter and driving causing death)
  • assault
  • sexual assault
  • kidnapping/abduction
  • robbery
  • blackmail/extortion
  • unlawful entry with intent (UEWI)
  • motor vehicle theft
  • other theft.

4 National data for assault and sexual assault are not available for recorded crime, however national data for these offences are available from the 2005 National Crime and Safety Survey and the 2005 National Personal Safety Survey. For further information see paragraphs 12-17.

5 The scope excludes the following:
  • conspiracy offences. The local offence classifications used in jurisdictions do not generally enable the identification of the substantive offence category to which the conspiracy relates
  • threats to commit an offence. These differ from offences like robbery, kidnapping/abduction and blackmail/extortion wherein an element of threat is implicit in the nature of the crime. An exception to the exclusion is assault where direct threat of force, injury or violence where there is an apprehension that the threat could be enacted
  • aid, abet and accessory offences
  • deprivation of liberty offences.

6 A victim can be a person, a premises, an organisation or a motor vehicle depending on the type of offence.

7 With the exception of motor vehicle theft, statistics relate to both completed and attempted offences, i.e. those where the intent is not fulfilled. Attempted motor vehicle thefts are excluded from the scope of the collection due to difficulties in distinguishing these offences from criminal damage.

8 Attempts to commit an offence are classified to the same ASOC subdivision/group as completed offences. The exception to this is murder, where murder and attempted murder are distinguished as separate offence categories.

9 Offences may include those which at a later point in time are determined to be unfounded, i.e. false or baseless.

10 Some victims of minor offences may not be recorded on crime recording systems by police in all states and territories.


DATA SOURCE

11 Statistics in this publication are derived from information on victimisation incidents collected by the ABS in aggregate form from administrative records held by police agencies within each state and territory.


COMPARABILITY

12 National statistics require a level of uniformity when compiling data from different states and territories. A number of standards, classifications and counting rules have been developed since the inception of this collection to improve national comparability. However, over time significant changes in the business rules, procedures, systems, policies and recording practices of police agencies across Australia have resulted in some discrepancies in data between states and territories for some offence types.

13 Findings from the Differences in Recorded Crime Statistics (DiRCS) project released in 2005 indicated that data for assault and sexual assault were not comparable across all states and territories. Testing of these offence types highlighted that there were inconsistent recording practices across the states and territories. Some jurisdictions almost always record a reported criminal incident on their crime recording system, whereas other jurisdictions apply a threshold test prior to a record being made (e.g. whether the victim wishes to proceed against the offender, or the seriousness of the incident). These thresholds varied across jurisdictions and were not guided by national standards.

14 The project also concluded that once a crime had been recorded in a crime recording system there was no evidence to suggest that processes within any state or territory had a significant impact on differences in recorded crime statistics.

15 In considering other aspects of recorded crime statistics, the DiRCS project concluded that information for offence types other than assault and sexual assault were satisfactory for the level of comparison presented in this publication. Where there are known specific issues for individual states and territories, these are described in paragraphs 27-104.

16 As a consequence of the lack of data comparability for assault and sexual assault, national data for these offence types are not available and the data provided in this publication for individual states and territories should not be used for cross-jurisdiction comparisons. Indexes are provided to assist in interpreting change over time within each jurisdiction. These indexes show movements in victimisation rates over time by comparing each offence group for each year with that offence group in a base year. For further information on indexes see paragraphs 119-122. Further classification developments will improve these offences in the future see paragraphs 18-26.

17 A paper outlining the conduct and outcomes of the DiRCS project is available on the National Statistical Service website <http://www.nss.gov.au>. The paper was prepared by the ABS National Crime Statistics Unit (NCSU) on behalf of the NCSU Board of Management.


NATIONAL CRIME RECORDING STANDARD

18 The following describes changes that have occurred or are likely to occur in the future in the recording of crime victimisation statistics by police agencies which may influence crime victimisation counts.

19 A National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) has been developed to address the lack of a uniform standard in the initial police recording processes. This standard will complement the already established classifications and counting rules for the RCVS collection and improve the level of comparability of these statistics across jurisdictions.

20 The NCRS, comprising a uniform set of business rules and requirements has been developed in collaboration with police agencies across Australia to guide the recording and counting of criminal incidents for statistical purposes and enable consistency in recording. A comprehensive set of scenarios has also been developed which underpin the rules and requirements of the NCRS and provides police agencies with guidance about how to deal with an incident from the point at which it comes to police attention to the point at which it is recorded into crime statistics. The main objective of the NCRS is to provide clear guidance to police agencies on the criteria to be considered when making a judgement as to what should be recorded on police recording systems to meet national crime statistical requirements.

21 The application of the rules and requirements of the NCRS enable the recording of crime for statistical purposes in a comparable manner, while still allowing for the recording and retaining of information on police systems for the primary reasons of operational investigation and law enforcement. Given the nature of policing, many factors ultimately influence the level of recorded crime. Social, cultural and economic factors may influence the level of criminal offending or the level of reporting to police. Recorded crime statistics are the by-product of an administrative system and will be affected by changes within that system. The introduction of new technologies or changes in police business practices and resources are also likely to influence levels of recorded crime which may not necessarily reflect changes in the actual number of criminal incidents. Changes to legislation may also have an impact on the level of recorded crime and on the types of offences recorded. Any known differences are highlighted in Explanatory Notes paragraphs 27-104.


Implementation of the NCRS

22 Given that law enforcement is administered separately by each of the state and territory police agencies in Australia, the date of implementing the NCRS will vary across Australia and will be based on operational capacity to implement. Six jurisdictions have already commenced implementation, however, the date of implementation varies:
      Queensland - June 2007
      South Australia - September 2007
      Western Australia - January 2007
      Tasmania - January 2008
      Northern Territory - May 2007
      Australian Capital Territory - January 2008

23 New South Wales and Victoria are expected to implement the NCRS by July 2008.


The impact of the NCRS on Recorded Crime Victim Statistics

24 One of the challenges of introducing the NCRS is establishing whether its implementation will artificially inflate or deflate any or all of the offences within the RCVS collection. As police crime statistics are a by-product of the administrative processes of law enforcement it is not feasible to quantify the impact of the NCRS on crime recording. However, extensive consultation with police agencies has been undertaken and suggests that most jurisdictions are not expecting significant differences as a result of implementing the NCRS. The introduction of new state and territory based legislation and more pro-active policing policies in relation to family and domestic violence over recent years has potentially seen a greater alignment in the recording of assault related offences across the jurisdictions. The historical time series for all offences, except assault and sexual assault, are not expected to be significantly impacted.

25 National offence data for assault and sexual assault offence types will be available once all jurisdictions have implemented the NCRS and are able to supply a full calendar year's worth of data. The earliest this is anticipated is for the 2009 reference year, expected to be released in 2010.

26 Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory data presented in this publication comprise counts based on both pre-NCRS and post NCRS implementation. Queensland and Northern Territory have also implemented significant IT infrastructure changes which may also impact on the estimates. Data for all other jurisdictions pre-dates implementation of the NCRS.


STATE/TERRITORY SIGNIFICANT EVENT AND SPECIFIC ISSUES

27 The following information highlights events or processes unique to a jurisdiction that may have had an impact on the data for this collection. This may include specific initiatives, recording practices, changes to legislation or policy to combat particular types of crime. This information has been supplied by each police agency.


New South Wales

28 Kidnapping/abduction weapon use data have been imputed for 2007, except for the total count.

29 New South Wales robbery counts are no longer comparable prior to 2005 as these are understated. Additional robbery victims were identified through a change in counting methodology. Given the significance of the contribution of New South Wales to the Australian estimate, national data are also not comparable prior to 2005. Caution should also be exercised in comparing robbery between 2006 to 2007 as a different process was used to categorise weapon/non-weapon use in 2006. Data for weapon not further defined and unspecified were lower in 2006 as a result of this process.

30 Unlawful entry with intent counts are no longer comparable prior to 2006 as data were previously overstated. Given the significance of the contribution of New South Wales to the Australian estimate, national data are also not comparable prior to 2006. Improved quality assurance procedures have ensured that the data reflects the counting rules as described in paragraph 113.

31 Improvements to quality assurance processes during 2006 have resulted in a reduction of weapons 'not further defined' and a reclassification of these data to other weapon use categories. Care should be taken when comparing data prior to 2006 for weapon use categories as the data are not strictly comparable. This increased level of effort did not continue during 2007, hence the quality between categories may differ for 2007.

32 Care should be taken when comparing other theft location data from 2006 to prior years as quality assurance improvements have been made to this offence type. For the offence other theft, a number of 'not further defined' categories that previously appeared in total residential are now accurately being recorded under outbuilding/residential land. Transport locations prior to 2006 were also previously overstated; other theft from car parks are now categorised to the appropriate location category.

33 Counts of kidnapping/abduction may be inflated slightly. 'Deprivation of liberty' (which is out of scope for this collection) is not separately identifiable on the COPS system; therefore counts of this offence type are also included in the kidnapping/abduction offence category.

34 Leaving restaurants without paying and failing to pay for petrol form part of the offence category of other theft for this collection. New South Wales, however, has excluded these offence types from this category, as they are categorised as fraud, which is out of scope of this collection.

35 All family and domestic violence related assaults are recorded even if the victim does not want to proceed.

36 An assault will still be recorded if there are no signs of injury and the victim does not wish to take the matter further. There is a propensity in New South Wales to record assault as part of public disturbances (e.g. a pub brawl).

37 Sexual assault counts include incidents committed prior to the reference period but reported to police in that reference period.

38 If after a report of a sexual assault further investigation reveals no grounds to suggest a crime took place, a record of the original incident will remain and will be included in the counts.

39 A motor vehicle theft is recorded even if it is later determined that the motor vehicle had not been stolen.


Victoria

40 Sexual assault data have been revised from 1993 to include all offences in scope of the offence of sexual assault. The large increase from 2005 was partly attributed to renewed efforts to improve business practices in relation to police responding to reports of sexual assault. This includes the release in 2005 of The Code of Practice for the Investigation of Sexual Assault, aimed at ensuring a co-ordinated and efficient response from all services, including police, sexual assault counsellors and forensic medical officers.

41 Sexual assault counts may include incidents committed prior to the reference period but reported to police in that reference period.

42 Victoria may record an offence (where the facts indicate that a crime has been committed) if the victim does not wish to proceed, depending on the severity of that offence.

43 The Family Violence Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence was introduced in August 2004, and has influenced an increase in assault counts since that time. This initiative involved a proactive approach by police and prosecutions in gathering evidence, investigation and laying charges, where appropriate, relating to family violence. It has also led to more victims feeling confident in reporting family violence to police.

44 Property taken in association with UEWI may not always be identified due to limitations in recording options in the Victoria Police LEAP computer system. Therefore caution should be used when assessing the subcomponents of UEWI. The total counts for UEWI are correct, however further disaggregation results in an undercount for 'UEWI - involving the taking of property' and an over count of 'UEWI - other'.

45 In July 2004, there was a change to the procedures for recording theft of bicycle offences. Bicycles stolen during the commission of another offence such as burglary were no longer counted separately and therefore the bicycles from 2004 onwards are recorded as property items attached to the burglary. This change brings Victoria's recording practices in line with national standards. This change may have contributed to the reduction in other theft offences from 2004 to 2005.


Queensland

46 Caution should be exercised when interpreting data movements between 2006 and 2007. A new IT system, QPRIME was introduced in June 2007. The changes to the IT system affected the way in which data about an offence was recorded for all offence types. Data for 2007 therefore may be undercounted for all offence types, however, this is likely to be more so for property offences. Related offence information such as weapons, location and Indigenous status has also been impacted. The extent of the undercount cannot be quantified. Queensland police business processes are being reviewed in 2008 with a view to improving the quality of the recorded crime data.

47 The NCRS was also introduced in June 2007. The impact of the NCRS cannot be established as it coincided with the release of the new IT system, however, this change was not expected to have had a significant impact. For more information about the NCRS see paragraphs 18-26.

48 Caution should be exercised in comparing transport and other community location data to previous years. Some data have been incorrectly coded to transport instead of community location. Therefore the transport data may be overstated, while the other community data may be understated.

49 Queensland's Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 1989 was amended by the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Regulation, which commenced on 10 March 2003. The relevant chapter of Queensland Police policies and procedures requires police to take action where an investigating officer determines that there is sufficient evidence to do so. Charges may be pursued under the Criminal Code or other Acts in addition to proceedings under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act. In addition, an investigation is to be made where a police officer has a 'reasonable suspicion' that domestic violence is occurring or has occurred.

50 Sexual assault counts may include incidents committed prior to the reference period but reported to police in that reference period.

51 The increase in kidnapping/abduction offences for 2004 was possibly a result of increased public awareness of these types of offences. The media and the police had established a working partnership to encourage immediate reporting of kidnapping/abduction offences and thereby increase the chances of apprehending the offenders responsible.

52 Leaving a restaurant without paying forms part of the offence category of other theft for this collection. Queensland, however, has excluded this offence type from this category, but may include it in categories out of scope of this collection.

53 Data for offences that are deemed after investigation to be 'unsubstantiated' and/or 'unfounded' are excluded.


South Australia

54 The NCRS was implemented in September 2007, however changes due to the implementation are only partially reflected in the data. There were no significant impacts to the data as a result of this implementation. For more information about the NCRS see paragraphs 18-26.

55 Mandatory reporting of 'reportable' assaults (unlawful sexual assault, unreasonable use of force or assault) in a residential care facility became effective 1 July 2007.

56 While assault is defined in legislation, the definitions of an offence at common law are relied upon.

57 South Australia does not record an assault or any other offence (when evidence suggests an assault or another offence has taken place) if they cannot locate a victim or their representative.

58 The Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Aggravated Offences) Act 2005 came into effect 15 May 2006. This has widened the scope for the offence types of assault, kidnapping/abduction and blackmail/extortion in South Australia. Offences that are of a threatening nature, such as threat to endanger life or threat to injure, are included in scope of these offence types due to this legislative change. For the RCVS collection, threats of assault that are not face to face are not in scope and are excluded from the assault offence; only face to face threats are included. South Australia cannot exclude non-face to face threats of assault. Offences of a threatening nature however are implicit in offences such as robbery, kidnapping/abduction and blackmail/extortion and should be included in the RCVS collection. Part of the increase in assaults, blackmail/extortion and kidnapping/abduction are due to the implementation of this legislation, therefore caution should be exercised when comparing data prior to 2006.

59 The South Australian Domestic Violence Act 1994 was amended in 2001 (stalking) and in 2004 (problem gambling family protection orders).

60 South Australia records all family and domestic violence related assaults even if the victim does not want to proceed.

61 Sexual assault counts may include incidents committed prior to the reference period but reported to police in that reference period. The Mullighan enquiry (spanning December 2004 to April 2008) into the sexual abuse of children in state care has generated renewed and continued public awareness resulting in increased reporting of offences committed prior to the current reference period. In 2007, approximately 10% of sexual assaults reported to police related to incidents occurring prior to 2007; this figure was approximately 5% in 2006.

62 Leaving restaurants without paying and failing to pay for petrol form part of the offence category of other theft for this collection. Prior to 2006, these offences were not included in other theft counts, but may have been recorded against other offence categories not in scope of this collection. Taxi fare evasion forms part of fraud and is out of scope of this collection. From 2006, taxi fare evasions are included in other theft as these cannot be separated out.

63 South Australia Police record a single victim in instances where multiple vehicles belonging to that victim are stolen in a single incident. Victims of motor vehicle theft may therefore be understated. However, the impact to victim counts is minimal.

64 The reduction in other theft offences from 2003 to 2004 may have been the result of the maturation of the decentralised Local Service Area structure, the South Australia policing model, the Performance Outcome Review process and the setting of reduction targets.

65 The legal age of consent (that is, when it is legal for young people to consent to sex) for South Australia and Tasmania is 17 years of age. The legal age of consent in all other states and territories is 16.

66 The following initiatives were in operation in South Australia:
  • 'Benchmarking', introduced in 2006-07, to identify and set improvement targets in crime, detections and pro-activity. This is linked to Corporate Business Plan strategies; each LSA has individually calculated benchmarks on 26 categories based on the past three years performance. Benchmarking complements the existing Performance Outcome Review process operative since 1999.
  • Police have continued a strong policing presence in the APY Lands in the far north-west of the state, which has lead to increased reporting. The effect is one of increased and improved reporting of mainly personal crimes amongst Indigenous people in remote areas, rather than a significant actual increase in crime.
  • Operation Mandrake, conducted since September 2004, targets offenders of vehicle crime. This operation may influence the level of reported crime and outcomes of investigation for motor vehicle theft.


Western Australia

67 The NCRS was implemented during 2007, however, changes due to the implementation are only partially reflected in the data. For more information about the NCRS see paragraphs 18-26.

68 As part of the focus on remote communities and the recommendations of the Gordon Inquiry in 2002, a number of multifunctional police facilities have been established in remote Western Australia in the last five years: one in 2003 in the Central Desert; three in 2004 in the Kimberley and one in the Central Desert; one in 2006 in the Central Desert; one in 2007 in the Pilbara and two in the Kimberley, plus a police post in the Kimberley.

69 The Western Australian Acts Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence) Act 2004 came into effect on 1 December 2004. Police have a statutory obligation to investigate if they have a 'reasonable suspicion' that a person is committing an act of family and domestic violence, that is also a criminal offence, or has put the safety of a person with whom they have a family or domestic relationship at risk. The definition of a 'family and domestic relationship' is very broad and the definition of an 'act of family and domestic violence' provides broad grounds for intervention. Western Australia records all family and domestic violence related assaults even if the victim does not want to proceed.

70 In 2004, significant changes were made to the Restraining Orders Act 1997, the Criminal Code, and the Bail Act 1982, to improve the way police respond to and report domestic violence. Prior to 2004, family and domestic assaults comprised around 25% of total reported assaults; from 2004 to 2007 the proportion has consistently been around 38% of total reported assaults.

71 Western Australia does not record an assault or any other offence (when evidence suggests an assault has taken place) if they cannot locate a victim or their representative and when the evidence suggests that the assault is minor.

72 Sexual assault counts may include incidents committed prior to the reference period but reported to police in that reference period.

73 There had been a significant increase in the use of DNA testing (and media advertising of this fact) in 2006. This may have acted as a deterrent for offenders and therefore may provide some explanation for the decrease in some offence categories during 2006.

74 A new offence recording system, the Incident Management System (IMS), was implemented and rolled-out between September 2002 and August 2004, and gradually replaced the Offence Information System (OIS) over that period.

75 The blackmail/extortion data may be understated prior to 2003 as the previous recording system was unable to include those offences related to blackmail/extortion with no monetary influence. The IMS is able to provide both pecuniary and non-pecuniary offences for extortion.

76 The increased re-licensing of second-hand vehicles resulted in a significant increase in immobilisers being fitted to old vehicles. This may have contributed to the decrease of motor vehicle theft from 2003 to 2004. In December 2006, 77% of all registered vehicles in WA had immobilisers fitted, while the national average was 54% (Source: National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council 2007).

77 A number of strategies have been implemented to combat crime. These include:
  • A Burglar Beware Intensive Program specifically aimed at reducing burglary offences. This program has been in operation since 2004 and a new website was launched in early 2007.
  • The establishment of a Police Assistance Centre in December 2004 to take non-emergency calls via a '131444' number and a major advertising and public awareness campaign about the use of the number in May 2005.
  • 'Eyes on the Street' - implemented in 2004 - involving coordinated intelligence gathering about crime in the community. This enables third parties (state government agencies, local governments and businesses) to identify, record and report possible criminal activity to police. Since its implementation nearly 4,000 pieces of information have been received by police; criminal activities reported include: burglary, 'hoon' drivers and organised crime (Office of Crime Prevention 'Turning the Corner 2007: recent crime trends in Western Australia).


Tasmania

78 The Family Violence Act 2004 came into effect on 30 March 2005 and is the legislative basis under which Tasmania Police operates in matters of family violence. Family violence means any of a number of specified types of conduct (including assault and sexual assault) committed by a person, directly or indirectly, against that person's spouse or partner (including ex-spouse or ex-partner), including same-sex relationships. The legislation provides enhanced police powers in relation to entry, search and arrest in family violence cases and mandates certain professions (doctors, dentists, psychologists, teachers, etc.) to report to Police the occurrence or suspicion of family violence. Assaults relating to family violence are recorded even if the victim does not want to proceed. This has resulted in a sharp increase in assaults recorded in 2005 followed by a gradual decline.

79 Sexual assault counts include incidents committed prior to the reference period but reported to police in that reference period; 29% of sexual assaults reported in 2006 and 33% reported in 2007 relate to earlier time periods.

80 Prior to 2005, all counts of demanding property with menaces were included in the category of robbery. From 2005 (revised data), these offences were either classified to robbery or blackmail/extortion, depending on the circumstances of the incident.

81 A motor vehicle theft is recorded even if later it is determined that the motor vehicle had not been stolen.

82 The legal age of consent (that is, when it is legal for young people to consent to sex) for South Australia and Tasmania is 17 years of age. The legal age of consent in all other states and territories is 16.

83 The following are examples of some initiatives/programs which were in operation in Tasmania:
  • In 2004, the Tasmanian Government introduced the Safe at Home initiative which is underpinned by the Family Violence Act 2004. The initiative is intended to achieve a reduction in the level of family violence in the medium to long term and, in the shorter term, improve safety for adult and child victims as well as change the offending behaviour of those responsible for the violence.
  • Public Order Response Teams (PORTs), comprising extra police officers deployed in each District to address crime and public order issues, continued in 2007. Using an intelligence-led policing model, they targeted areas prone to antisocial behaviour and public order incidents.
  • A number of initiatives were implemented to prevent and detect robberies with a special taskforce established in the southern part of the State to focus on armed robberies. A security package, PubSafe, was launched in 2007 to deter robbery in gambling areas.
  • Strategies and programs undertaken by Tasmania Police in conjunction with other organisations, to reduce motor vehicle stealing and stealing property from motor vehicles included: Project Bonnet; Park Smart; Operation Bounce Back; and Project U-Turn.
  • The consistent reduction in property offences over several years is due to a number of factors including improvements in technology and policing strategies in the context of improved economic conditions. The Department's Integrated Crime Management Strategy, using the intelligence-led model, has helped reduce crime as well as programs such as Project Samaritan. This program, in partnership with other organisations, aims to prevent residential burglaries and repeat victimisation by offering crime prevention advice to victims and neighbours.


The Northern Territory

84 A number of new initiatives were introduced by Northern Territory Police during late 2006 and 2007 and this has influenced the rate of change for some offence types, particularly assault. Caution should therefore be exercised in interpreting data movements between 2006 and 2007.

85 The rise in assault counts between 2006 and 2007 can be largely attributed to three key factors: a change to the NT IT system and business practices, the implementation of the NCRS and training associated with it and continued local domestic violence initiatives.

86 The Northern Territory Police IT system - PROMIS Case Management System - was significantly upgraded at 30 April 2007. Internal business practices were also reviewed to improve the quality assurance of the information being recorded by police in the Northern Territory, particularly for the more serious offences. This review highlighted a number of areas for improvement and a number of system improvements, including the introduction of mandatory fields, and improvements to business practices, were made to improve the quality of information being recorded about offences and victims from early 2007. A number of strategies have also been implemented to combat crime see paragraph 94.

87 The NCRS was introduced May 2007. This initiative was combined with the enhancements mentioned previously, and there was a concerted effort in training police personnel in the new procedures. For more information about the NCRS see paragraphs 18-26.

88 The Northern Territory Domestic Violence Act 1992 was last amended in October 2005. It provides a broad definition of 'domestic relationship'. A General Order issued to Northern Territory Police in November 2005, Domestic Violence - Response, Investigation and Prevention, sets out processes and procedures for police response to, and investigation of, domestic violence incidents and related criminal offences. It details procedures for initiating civil and criminal action in these matters, including 'taking positive action in every case even where victims are reluctant to act'. All family and domestic violence related assaults are recorded even if the victim does not want to proceed.

89 Domestic violence remains a high priority for service evidenced by the formation of the Domestic and Personal Violence Protection Units, the Peace at Home Project in Katherine and the training of all operational members in related issues, and the enhanced domestic violence investigation training provided to key members in investigative, supervisory and support positions. As a result of this there is concerted effort by police to encourage victims to come forward to police.

90 The large increase in assault victims from 2004 to 2005 was significantly related to the introduction of domestic violence initiatives in the Northern Territory in 2005. The rise in assaults from 2005 to 2006 and 2006 to 2007 continue to be influenced by these domestic violence initiatives, however, non-domestic violence assaults have also significantly increased, particularly in the last twelve months. The initiatives mentioned previously have influenced this direction.

91 Assault in the Northern Territory is clearly defined under sections 187-188 of the NT Criminal Code Act and therefore does not rely on common law definitions.

92 If after a report of an assault further investigation reveals, insufficient evidence, but in the judgement of a police officer a crime did take place, a record of an assault will still be made on the Northern Territory Police administrative recording system (PROMIS) with an outcome code of 'insufficient evidence'.

93 Sexual assault counts may include incidents committed prior to the reference period, but reported to police in that reference period.

94 A number of strategies exist in the Northern Territory to reduce crime:
  • The Violent Crime Reduction Strategy, the Property Crime Reduction Strategy and the Missing Person Policy continue. These strategies provide quality assurance in relation to the investigating, reporting and recording of particular offences. Victims of Crime Procedures have been introduced to improve service to victims and encourage people to report crime.
  • In June 2007, the Commonwealth Government announced the Northern Territory Emergency Response and the NT Government announced Closing the Gap Generational Plan for Action. These initiatives are in response to the Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Abuse report. Of significance is the commencement of 'Operation Themis', the NT Police aspect of the above initiatives. This operation has seen the implementation of 18 new police stations and additional staff in remote areas of the NT, that did not previously have policing services located there.
  • In June 2006 the Child Abuse Taskforce was established, in addition to the Sexual Crime Unit. The Taskforce was created to deal with offences against children especially in remote localities and has been increased under Operation Themis.
  • Alcohol Courts have been established for the purpose of issuing prohibition orders and alcohol intervention orders. The intention is to reduce the number of causal factors of crime.
  • In 2004, the implementation of intelligence-led policing initiatives such as the Tactical and Coordination Group (TCG) response to crime across the Northern Territory, led to early identification of crime trends such as motor vehicle theft. The decrease in motor vehicle theft between 2003 and 2004 may also have been due to: forensic-led response to stolen/recovered motor vehicles; an improved response coordinated through the stolen motor vehicle unit to NEVDIS (National Exchange of Vehicles and Driver Identification System); reports of vehicle anomalies (including suspected vehicle re-births); and the continual improvement of vehicle security features.


The Australian Capital Territory

95 During 2007, ACT Policing targeted anti-social behaviour related to intoxication in public places through greater police presence, particularly during peak times. This operation was known as 'Operation Cobalt'. The increased visibility by police may have increased the likelihood of assault offences being reported to police.

96 The targeting of repeat offenders through the establishment of permanent Property Crime teams in June 2006 may have contributed to the decrease in UEWI for 2007.

97 The Property Crime Reduction Strategy is one of many factors that may have contributed to a decrease in motor vehicle theft. The improved security features in modern cars, greater uptake of the immobiliser rebate offered by the ACT Government and improved security in shopping centre car parks have also been contributing factors in influencing the decrease from 2006 to 2007.

98 The Australian Capital Territory amended the Domestic Violence & Protection Orders Act 2001, with amendments coming into force in March 2005. Some definitions have changed, including the definition of what constitutes a 'domestic partner', which has been extended. These definitional changes were not expected to impact on the type or rate of offences recorded on Australian Capital Territory operational IT systems. The decision to charge is made by investigating police based on the evidence available to them.

99 Sexual assault counts may include incidents committed prior to the reference period but reported to police in that reference period. In 2007, 7% of total sexual assaults related to victims who reported an offence more than a year after the initial offence occurred.

100 An upgrade of the ACT policing IT system - PROMIS Case Management System (CMS) - was introduced on 29 November 2005 resulting in significant change to the way in which offences were recorded in the Australian Capital Territory. Data prior to November 2005 were mainly based on the primary victim (often the complainant) as only one victim's details could be recorded against a particular offence. In the new version of the CMS, offences now can have multiple victims recorded against them. Data for 2006 onwards is a more accurate reflection of the number of victims associated with reported offences.

101 As a result of these IT changes, data prior to 2006 may not be strictly comparable for person-related offences such as assault, sexual assault and robbery and therefore comparisons with previous years should be interpreted with caution.

102 Care should also be taken when comparing UEWI data prior to 2006 as a number of data quality improvements associated with the update of the CMS have been made to this offence category which has seen a redistribution between 'UEWI - property' and 'UEWI - other'. Data are not comparable to previous years.

103 In 2006, there were an unusually high number of armed robberies in a short period of time committed by a small number of offenders or offender groups.

104 Motor vehicles that are stolen in the Australian Capital Territory, but recovered in another state/territory are recorded on Australian Capital Territory operational IT systems and are included in the counts.


CLASSIFICATIONS

105 The offence categories used for national crime statistics in this publication are based on ASOC. The ASOC was implemented in the recorded crime statistics collection from 1 January 1999 and provides a uniform national statistical framework for classifying offences. The national offence definitions are descriptive and may not correspond with legal or police offence definitions in a particular jurisdiction. For further information on the mapping of national offence categories to the ASOC see Appendix 3.

106 The ABS expects to release a revised edition of the ASOC in 2008.


COUNTING METHODOLOGY

107 The following provides an explanation as to how victims are treated and counted in this collection.

108 Data are compiled on the basis of the date an offence is reported to police and recorded within a reference period. This corresponds to either the date the offence was reported to police by a member of the public or when it was detected by police. The report date may not necessarily be the date when the offence occurred. This is particularly the case for homicide and related offences and sexual assault offences, where in some instances the time difference between when the offence(s) occurred and the report/detection date may be substantial.

109 A victim of a criminal incident is classified to the most serious offence of one of the offence categories in scope of this collection (see paragraphs 3-10 for offences in scope). Victims of multiple offences may be counted more than once if the offences fall into separate ASOC divisions. The most serious offence within an ASOC division is the one with the lowest ASOC code. For example, Murder (0111) is a more serious offence than Manslaughter (0131).

110 A victim can be a person, premises, organisation or motor vehicle depending on the type of offence.


Counting within an ASOC Division category

111 If multiple offences per victim fall within the same ASOC division the victim is counted only once to the most serious offence within that division.

112 Examples of where a victim of multiple offences would be counted once in the same ASOC division are:
  • If a person is indecently assaulted (one form of sexual assault) and then raped (another form of sexual assault), one victim would be counted for aggravated sexual assault, i.e. the rape. The indecent assault offence would not be counted.
  • A victim of an attack by several offenders or a victim repeatedly assaulted by the same offender would be counted once for assault.
  • The same victim is repeatedly abused over a period of time (i.e. long term abuse) and reports all instances of abuse to police at a point in time. The exception to this rule is where the victim reports these incidents to police at different times, then a count is made for each separate report.
  • If a bank with several customers present is robbed one robbery is counted with the victim being the bank. If personal property is also taken from two customers there would be three victims; the bank and the two customers.
  • One victim is counted for each motor vehicle stolen. For example, if five cars are stolen from a car yard, this is counted as five motor vehicle thefts.
  • One victim is counted for each person/organisation victimised for other theft.

113 For the offence of UEWI the following applies:
  • One victim is counted for each place/premises victimised. A place/premises can consist of either a single structure (e.g. house), part of a single structure (e.g. flat), or multiple structures (e.g. farmstead with house, barns and sheds). The same property containing the same structure(s) can be counted differently depending on the occupancy arrangements at the time.
  • For multiple structures on the same property with the same occupant(s), one victim is counted regardless of the number of separate structures unlawfully entered with intent. This would apply to a house with attached or unattached garage and a backyard shed located on the one property; and warehouses occupied by a sole organisation located on the same property.
  • For multiple structures on the same property, but occupied by more than one household or organisation, one victim is counted for each separate household or organisation. Where a business premises has an attached residence that is occupied by the same person(s), the registered business is considered to be a separate victim.
  • In the case of UEWI to individual areas in a building that is rented, leased or occupied separately, one victim is counted for each separate tenant/owner. For example, in a block of 10 flats leased by 10 different tenants where three flats are unlawfully entered, there would be a count of three UEWIs. If unlawful entry to the building itself is recorded, an additional offence of UEWI to that building is counted. This instance would apply to apartments in one building; offices of several commercial firms in one business building; shops in a shopping complex; hotel rooms; and lodging houses.


Counting across national offence categories

114 If a victim is subjected to multiple offences during the same criminal incident the victim may be counted more than once. If the multiple offences fall under different ASOC divisions then the victim will be counted under the most serious offence of each relevant ASOC division category. For example, a person kidnapped and murdered will be counted twice under the national counting rule; once in the kidnapping/abduction ASOC category and once in the murder ASOC category.


RATES

115 Rates per 100,000 of the Estimated Resident Population (ERP) are presented in tables 1 and 3. As the population changes over time, the denominator used for the calculation of rates will vary, depending on the reference period. The ERP for the midpoint of each reference period is used to calculate the rates. Rates expressed per 100,000 persons generally accord with international and state and territory practice.

116 The ERP series are revised every five years to incorporate additional information available from the latest Census of Population and Housing. The rates per 100,000 persons and the indexed rates presented in this issue have been calculated using different ERP counts as follows:
  • 2006-2007 rates and indexes are calculated using preliminary ERP data based on the 2006 Census of Population and Housing.
  • 2001-2005 rates and indexes are calculated using revised ERP based on the 2006 Census of Population and Housing.
  • All other rates and indexes are calculated using ERP based on the 2001 Census of Population and Housing.

117 For population estimates and information on the methodology used to produce ERP, see Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0).

118 The risk of victimisation varies depending on the age and sex of the victim. These statistics include details of the age and sex of the victim, and age and sex specific victimisation rates have been included in table 3. These are calculated using estimates of the age and sex breakdown of the population. For the offence categories of robbery and blackmail/extortion, where the victim may be a person or an organisation, victimisation rates have been provided for person victims only in table 3.


INDEXES

119 An index is a convenient way of comparing values over time. The index allows comparison of two values of recorded crime for a common offence within a jurisdiction. Indexes are provided to assist in interpreting change over time within jurisdictions. Indexes should not be used to make direct comparisons between jurisdictions.

120 In order to compare two values of recorded crime it is necessary to designate one of the time periods as the ‘reference’ period and setting its value to 100.0. (This period is referred to as the base period or year as it is the first period for constructing the index). The index for all other periods (i.e. the comparison values) is calculated by determining the ratio of the comparison period value to the reference period value and then multiplying by 100.0. For example, suppose the recorded crime rate was 200 victims per 100,000 persons for a particular offence at 2001 (period 1), and for 2002 (period 2) it was 300 victims per 100,000 persons. 2001 (period 1) would be designated as the reference value or base year giving an index of 100.0 (200/200x100). The index value for 2002 (period 2) or the comparison value becomes 150.0 (300/200x100). The movement between 2001 (base year) and 2002 (comparison value) would be 50%.

121 For this publication, the indexes refer to victimisation rates per 100,000 persons and 2001 has been selected as the base year.

122 Movements in indexes from one period to another can be expressed either as changes in index points or as percentage changes. Index rates are not published where the numbers are very small as apparent large movements can be misleading.


CONFIDENTIALITY

123 The data presented in this publication have been confidentialised to prevent identification of victims. Cells with small values have been randomly adjusted. These adjustments do not impair the value of the tables as a whole.


REVISIONS

124 Statistics produced on the basis of date reported may be affected over time by lags in completing and/or processing some crime reports. Where offences reported in the reference year are not processed for inclusion in the national statistics until the following year, revised data are included in subsequent publications and noted accordingly. Revisions have occurred for Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. There were no revisions for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.


COMPARISONS TO OTHER ABS DATA

125 Another major source of measuring crime is the ABS 2005 National Crime and Safety Survey which is complementary to the Recorded Crime - Victims collection. This survey collects information directly from individuals and households about their experiences of crime, the extent to which incidents of crime were subsequently reported to police and perceptions of neighbourhood problems and feelings of safety for a broad selected set of offences (see Crime and Safety, Australia, 2005 (cat.no. 4509.0)).

126 A further source of crime victimisation which measures peoples experience of violence, harassment and stalking is the ABS 2005 Personal Safety Survey. This survey is conducted by personal interview and provides detailed information collected from individuals about: their experiences of threats/attempts or actual physical assault or sexual assault; the type of perpetrator; experience of harassment and stalking; reporting of incidents to police; feelings of safety; and includes a range of characteristics about some of these incidents of violence (see Personal Safety Survey, Australia, 2005 (cat. no. 4906.0)).

127 As different methods are used, caution should be exercised in making any direct comparisons. The Information Paper: Measuring Crime Victimisation, Australia: The Impact of Different Collection Methodologies (cat. no. 4522.0.55.001) was released by the ABS in 2004. The main aim of this paper is to increase community understanding of the nature of crime measurement in Australia and why the findings from different data sources may differ. The paper outlines national crime victimisation statistics available from several different sources in the Australian context (including Recorded Crime - Victims) and draws comparisons between the statistics from these sources. The paper also describes methodological differences between survey sources and the possible impacts of the methodological differences between the survey vehicles.


COMPARISONS TO OTHER SOURCES

128 The statistics presented in this publication may be different from those published by police forces in individual states and territories. Different definitions of offences (see Glossary) and counting methodology (see paragraphs 107-114) will result in variations. National recorded crime victims statistics are compiled on a victim basis in that they count the number of victims for each individual ASOC division offence category, rather than the number of breaches of the criminal law.


REFERENCE PERIOD

129 National crime statistics are produced annually on a calendar year basis. The reference period for this publication relates to offences that have been reported to police between 1 January and 31 December 2007. Data compiled on a financial year basis are also available from the ABS.


CONFIDENTIALITY OF TABULAR DATA

130 Table cells containing small values have been randomly adjusted to avoid releasing confidential information. Due to this randomisation process, totals may vary slightly across tables.


ADDITIONAL DATA

131 A set of additional tables containing state and territory wafers of some of the tables in this publication are available free of charge on the ABS website under the 'Details' tab for this product. Financial year data for 2006-07 are available on request. For further information, contact the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics (NCCJS) by email at <crime.justice@abs.gov.au>.


RELATED PUBLICATIONS

ABS publications

132 Other ABS publications which may be of interest include:
      Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) - issued quarterly
      Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0) - issued annually
      Australian Standard Offence Classification (cat. no. 1234.0) - irregular
      Causes of Death, Australia (cat. no. 3303.0) - issued annually
      Corrective Services, Australia (cat. no. 4512.0) - issued quarterly
      Crime and Safety, Australia (cat. no. 4509.0) - irregular
      Crime and Safety, New South Wales (cat. no. 4509.1) - irregular
      Criminal Courts, Australia (cat. no. 4513.0) - issued annually
      Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 30 June 1991 to 30 June 2009 (cat. no. 3238.0) - issued five yearly
      General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia (cat. no. 4159.0) - four yearly
      Information Paper: Measuring Crime Victimisation, Australia: The Impact of Different Collection Methodologies (cat. no. 4522.0.55.001) - irregular
      Information Paper: National Information Development Plan for Crime and Justice Statistics 2005 (cat. no. 4520.0) - single issue
      Measures of Australia's Progress (cat. no. 1370.0) - issued biennially
      Motor Vehicle Census, Australia (cat. no. 9309.0) - issued annually
      National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (cat. no. 4714.0) - irregular
      Personal Safety Survey (cat. no. 4906.0) - irregular
      Prisoners in Australia (cat. no. 4517.0) - issued annually
      Sexual Assault in Australia: A Statistical Overview (cat. no. 4523.0) - single issue
      Year Book Australia (cat. no. 1301.0) - irregular

133 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are available from the ABS website <http://www.abs.gov.au>. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website that details products to be released in the week ahead. The NCCJS releases Crime and Justice News (cat. no. 4500.0), an annual newsletter that is published on the ABS website. The centre can be contacted by email through <crime.justice@abs.gov.au>.


Non-ABS publications

134 Non-ABS sources which may be of interest include:
      Australian Crime Commission, Australian Illicit Drug Report
      Australian Federal Police, Annual Report
      Australian Institute of Criminology, List of Publications <http://www.aic.gov.au>
      Crime Research Centre, University of Western Australia, Crime and Justice Statistics for Western Australia
      NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, New South Wales Recorded Crime Statistics
      Office of Crime Prevention, Northern Territory Government, Northern Territory Quarterly Crime and Justice Statistics
      Office of Crime Statistics and Research, South Australia, Crime and Justice in South Australia
      Queensland Police Service, Statistical Review
      Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Report on Government Services
      South Australian Police Department, Statistical Review Annual Report
      Tasmanian Department of Police and Public Safety, Annual Report
      Victoria Police, Crime Statistics


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