Australian Bureau of Statistics
4510.0 - Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia, 2009 Quality Declaration
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/06/2010
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3 The scope of this collection includes victims of offences classified to selected divisions and/or subdivisions of ASOC. Selected offences include:
4 National data for assault are not available for recorded crime victims due to comparability issues, however, national data for this offence are available from the ABS 2008-09 National Crime Victimisation Survey. For further information see paragraphs 12-17.
5 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.
6 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.
7 The scope excludes the following:
8 A victim can be a person, a premises, an organisation or a motor vehicle depending on the type of offence.
9 Offences may include those which at a later point in time were determined to be unfounded, i.e. false or baseless. From 2009, where the outcome of investigation determines that there was 'no crime', these counts are excluded from the data. See paragraphs 21-24.
10 Some victims of minor offences may not be recorded on crime recording systems by police in all states and territories.
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.
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 were not comparable across all states and territories. Testing of this offence type 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 and subsequent data quality investigations concluded that information for offence types other than 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 58-135.
16 As a consequence of the apparent lack of data comparability for assault, national data are not published. Assault data are provided in this publication for individual states and territories, however they 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 54-57.
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 A National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) was 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 Recorded Crime - Victims statistics collection and improve the level of comparability of these statistics across jurisdictions.
19 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.
20 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.
OUTCOMES OF INVESTIGATIONS
21 An element of the NCRS included the creation of a 'no crime' category. For 2009, where police have determined after investigation that 'no crime' has occurred, no victim count is included in the data in relation to a 'no crime'. This differs from previous years where these counts were included for most jurisdictions. The removal of those victim counts where the outcome of investigation in 2009 was 'no crime' has resulted in a reduction of victim counts in comparison to 2008. This may have impacted on both the size and direction of change in victims counts for some offences. Nationally in 2009 this category accounted for less than 1% to 11% of all victims counts. Almost all offence categories were below 5%.
22 Queensland's data has not been impacted by the removal of 'no crime' as these have always been excluded. The Northern Territory is unable to code their outcome of investigation data to meet the requirements of the national outcome code 'no crime', therefore, Northern Territory data may include victim counts for those situations where police have determined after investigation that 'no crime' has occurred.
23 For further details on the impact of removing 'no crime' data, refer to the Technical Note on page 96.
24 In 2009 all jurisdictions indicated that they had implemented all elements of the NCRS, except for the Northern Territory. Analysis of assault data continues to indicate a lack of data comparability across some jurisdictions and further investigations are required before national data can be reinstated for this offence type.
25 The offence categories used for the 2009 reference period national crime victims statistics in this publication are based on the Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC), 2008 (second edition) (cat. no. 1234.0). ASOC 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. Offence data for years prior to 2009 are based on ASOC 1997 (the first edition).
26 The introduction of ASOC08 has had limited impact on the data due to minimal change to what activities are included or excluded for the offences published for the Recorded Crime - Victims collection. This has affected the offence category of other theft, with data relating to fare evasion coming into scope of the collection. Although there were limited impacts, during the course of the revised classification being implemented, jurisdictions also rectified a number of local offence codes that were miscoded to ASOC in previous years, thus impacting on data comparability between 2009 and prior years for certain offences. This has primarily affected the offence categories of other theft and assault for a number of jurisdictions resulting in increased victims counts. For further information on the impact of the implementation of ASOC08, refer to the Technical Note on page 96.
27 For further information on the mapping of national offence categories to the ASOC08 see Appendix 1.
28 This publication presents data for Indigenous victims for a selected range of personal offences for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Based on an ABS assessment of the quality, Indigenous data for recorded victims of crime for other jurisdictions are not of sufficient quality for national reporting in 2009. For information about Indigenous rates refer to paragraphs 48-53.
ABS Indigenous Standard
29 The ABS Standard Indigenous Question is based on self-identification by the individual who comes into contact with police, and should be asked at a minimum of all victims of crimes against the person. The answers to the Standard Indigenous Question can be ‘No’, ‘Yes, Aboriginal’, or ‘Yes, Torres Strait Islander’. If the victim is of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin, both responses should be recorded. If a victim does not supply an answer to this question, or is not asked, the Indigenous status field is recorded as 'not stated'. Where individuals are not able to provide an answer for themselves, jurisdictions may accept a response where a next of kin/guardian provides the information.
RELATIONSHIP OF OFFENDER TO VICTIM
30 Data about the relationship of an offender to a victim was reintroduced in 2008 following improvements to the quality of this data; these data were last published in 2004. Selected offences are presented where they meet the current quality threshold. Historical data should not be compared with 2009 data due to the earlier quality concerns.
31 The relationship of offender to victim is defined as the relationship of the alleged offender to the victim as perceived by the victim at the time of the offence, not when an offender is apprehended at a later date.
32 Data are not available for Western Australia in 2009 as it is not captured on the same basis as other states and territories (i.e. at the time the offence is recorded). New South Wales is unable to provide data for robbery offences. Several jurisdictions are unable to provide data for other theft and blackmail/extortion as the victim can be either a person or an organisation, therefore these offences have been excluded from tables. Victoria record the relationship of the victim to offender rather than the offender to the victim and data are then recoded to meet the Recorded Crime - Victims relationship classification. However, Victoria's data contains high levels of unknown relationships for a number of offence types which limits the available relationship information that can be published.
33 There is some inconsistency in coding of current and former boyfriends and girlfriends across the jurisdictions, which should be taken into account when making comparisons:
34 The following provides an explanation as to how victims are treated and counted in this collection.
35 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.
36 A victim can be a person, premises, organisation or motor vehicle depending on the type of offence.
37 A victim of a criminal incident is classified to 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 once, if the offences fall into the same ASOC division, or more than once if the offences fall into separate ASOC divisions.
Counting within an ASOC Division category
38 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. 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).
39 Examples of where a victim of multiple offences would be counted once in the same ASOC division are:
40 For the offence of UEWI the following applies:
Counting across national offence categories
41 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.
AGE OF VICTIMS
42 For the Recorded Crime - Victims collection, the age information collected about a victim relates to the age of the victim at the time they become known to police rather than the age that the person became a victim. For example, if a victim was sexually assaulted at age 14 years but did not report the offence until they were 18 years of age, their age as presented in the data in this publication would be 18 years. Therefore it is not possible to derive an accurate count of victims in terms of when they became a victim.
43 Rates for the general population are presented in Tables 2.1 and 2.3. Rates are expressed as victims per 100,000 of the Estimated Resident Population (ERP). As the population changes over time, the denominator used for the calculation of rates will vary, depending on the reference period and therefore data will be revised accordingly. 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.
44 The formula for calculating rate per 100,000 persons is: No. of reported victims/Estimated Resident Population x 100,000.
45 The ERP series are revised every five years to incorporate additional information available from the latest Census of Population and Housing. Except for the Indigenous victimisation rates, the rates and indexed rates presented in this issue have been calculated as follows:
46 For population estimates and information on the methodology used to produce ERP, see Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0). For Recorded Crime - Victims data, all estimates and projections for the Australian Capital Territory exclude Jervis Bay Territory. All estimates and projections for Australia exclude the external territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
47 The risk of victimisation varies depending on the age and sex of the victim. This publication includes details of the age and sex of the victim, and age and sex specific victimisation rates. Rates 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.
Indigenous victimisation rates
48 Indigenous victimisation rates are expressed per 100,000 Indigenous population. Rates for the Indigenous population presented in this publication for 2009 are based on the Indigenous population data in Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2021 (cat. no. 3238.0). This release included estimates for the Indigenous population of the states and territories and Australia, for the period 1986 to 2006; and projections of the Indigenous population for the period 2007 to 2021. These estimates and projections are based on data from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing, and use assumptions about future fertility, paternity, life expectancy at birth and migration.
49 The data supersede previously published ABS estimates and projections, and as a result, Indigenous victimisation rates previously published in the Recorded Crime - Victims collection are based on a different set of Indigenous estimates. Previously published Indigenous victimisation data have not been revised.
50 The Indigenous projections used for 2009 are based on Series B (refer to Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2021 (cat. no. 3238.0)). Series B is one of two main projection series (Series A and B) that have been published for the years 2007 to 2021. Both of these series assume an annual decline of 0.5% in fertility rates; an annual increase of 1% in paternity rates; constant interstate migration at levels observed in the 2006 Census; and zero net overseas migration with no arrivals and no departures. Two different assumptions were made about future Indigenous life expectancy at birth for Australia:
51 If Indigenous victim counts remained constant, an expected result of the change to the Indigenous population estimates would be a decrease in the victimisation rate due to the assumptions used by Series B resulting in higher population estimates and projections than those previously used.
52 Rates for the non-Indigenous population are calculated using the ERP for the state or territory minus the projected Indigenous population (refer to paragraph 45).
53 Care should be exercised in interpreting rates based on small numbers of victims.
54 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.
55 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%.
56 For this publication, the indexes refer to victimisation rates per 100,000 persons and 2001 has been selected as the base year.
57 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. Index rates may also be not published where the data has been subject to a major change and is not considered comparable with the base year.
STATE/TERRITORY SIGNIFICANT EVENTS AND SPECIFIC ISSUES
58 The following information highlights events or processes in each 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
59 A change to processing during 2008 resulted in a reduction of 'no weapon used' and an increase in 'unspecified'. Care should be taken when comparing data for 2008 with other reference periods as the data are not strictly comparable.
60 During 2007 weapon use data for kidnapping/abduction offences were imputed with the exception of the total for this offence type.
61 New South Wales robbery counts prior to 2005 are no longer comparable as these are understated. Additional robbery victims, who were generally armed 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.
62 Unlawful entry with intent counts prior to 2006 are no longer comparable 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 40.
63 Care should be taken when comparing location data for theft from a motor vehicle and motor vehicle theft between years, as changes have been made to location coding for these offences. Incidents of theft from a motor vehicle and motor vehicle theft which were recorded as a theft from a residential building were coded to an 'unknown' location for data prior to 2006; coded to 'residential location n.f.d.' for 2006; primarily coded to 'outbuilding/residential land' in 2007 and 2008; and coded to 'residential location n.f.d.' in 2009.
64 Prior to 2006, 'transport' locations were previously overstated; other theft from 'car parks' are now categorised to the appropriate location category.
65 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.
66 Leaving restaurants without paying and failing to pay for petrol are classified as fraud by New South Wales police and prior to 2009 were excluded from the Recorded Crime - Victims counts, as fraud is out-of-scope of this collection. Although New South Wales continue to classify fail to pay offences as fraud, this data have been provided to the ABS in 2009 and incorporated into the victim counts for other theft, as per the national counting requirements for this collection.
67 All family and domestic violence related assaults are recorded even if the victim does not want to proceed.
68 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 a part of public disturbances (e.g. a pub brawl).
69 Sexual assault counts include incidents committed prior to the reference period but reported to police in that reference period.
70 The large increase in Victoria's assault counts (30%) from 2008 to 2009 were largely the result of the inclusion of 'recklessly cause serious injury' and 'recklessly cause injury' offences. The inclusion of these offences accounted for approximately 98% of the increase in assaults. With the introduction of the revised Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC08) by all police agencies across Australia, Victoria Police reviewed mapping of Victorian offences for ASOC08 in conjunction with the ABS and Department of Justice, Victoria . As a result these two offences are now included in the 2009 data collection and are aligned with the Victoria Criminal Justice System and the ABS. Prior to 2009, data for 'recklessly cause serious injury' and 'recklessly cause injury' were excluded from assault counts, therefore data prior to 2009 are no longer comparable.
71 In July 2008, the Infringement and Other Acts Amendment Act 2008 provided for a two year trial of additional offences which are able to be dealt with by the issue of an infringement notice for persons aged 18 Years and over. During the trial, police will have the ability to issue new official warning notices for most offences. This initiative may have contributed partly to the increase in other theft in 2008.
72 Sexual assault data have been revised from 1993 to 2007 to include all offences in scope for this collection of the offence of sexual assault. The large increase from 2005 to 2006 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.
73 Sexual assault counts may include incidents committed prior to the reference period but reported to police in that reference period.
74 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.
75 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.
76 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'.
77 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 from 2004 onwards the bicycles 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.
78 Victim counts for property offences prior to 2007 are no longer comparable. A new software system, QPRIME was introduced in June 2007 resulting in changes to the way in which victim counts were recorded. Data from 2007 are likely to be undercounted for property offences, however, this cannot be quantified. Related offence information such as weapons, location and Indigenous status have also been impacted.
79 During 2007 some data about the location of the incidents were incorrectly coded to 'transport' instead of 'other community' location, therefore, 'transport' data were overstated, while 'other community' data were understated.
80 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.
81 Sexual assault counts may include incidents committed prior to the reference period but reported to police in that reference period.
82 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.
83 From 2009, victims of fare evasion/fail to pay for public transport offences are included in other theft data.
84 Data for offences that are deemed after investigation to be a 'no crime' are excluded from victims counts for all years.
85 The Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Aggravated Offences) Act 2005 came into effect 15 May 2006. This has widened the scope for offences such as 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 Recorded Crime - Victims 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 are in-scope of the Recorded Crime - Victims collection. Part of the increase in assault, blackmail/extortion and kidnapping/abduction in 2007 are due to the implementation of this legislation, therefore caution should be exercised when comparing data prior to 2006.
86 In November 2007 the amended General Order, Domestic Violence was promulgated. This General Order defines the philosophies, principles and standards for the prevention of domestic violence and repeat victimisation. This initiative may have had some impact on the increase in assaults during 2008.
87 Mandatory reporting on 'reportable' assaults (unlawful sexual assault, unreasonable use of force or assault) in a residential care facility became effective 1 July 2007.
88 While assault is defined in legislation, the definitions of an offence at common law are relied upon.
89 South Australia does not record an assault for an unknown victim but may record another offence such as theft (when evidence suggests an assault or another offence has taken place) if they cannot locate a victim or their representative.
90 South Australia records all family and domestic violence related assaults even if the victim does not want to proceed.
91 Sexual assault counts may include incidents committed prior to the reference period but reported to police in that reference period. The Mullighan Inquiry (spanning December 2004 to April 2008) into the sexual abuse of children in state care generated renewed and continued public awareness resulting in increased reporting of offences committed prior to 2007. In 2008, approximately 5% of sexual assaults reported to the police related to incidents occurring prior to December, 1982. For 2007 it was approximately 10%. For 2009 it is approximately 5%.
92 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 categories not in scope of this collection. From 2006 taxi fare evasion has been included in 'other theft', as these offences could not be separated out. Between 2006 and 2008 these offences were out of scope of the Recorded Crime - Victims collection, but came into scope in 2009 with the change in offence classification.
93 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, impact to victim counts is considered minimal.
94 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.
95 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.
96 The following initiatives were in operation in South Australia:
97 In January 2009, the legislation that governs mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse became part of the
Children and Community Services Act 2004. It is a legal requirement in Western Australia for doctors, nurses, midwives, teachers and police officers to report all reasonable beliefs of child sexual abuse to the Department for Child Protection.
98 Sexual assault counts may include incidents committed prior to the reference period but reported to police in that reference period.
99 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.
100 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 since 2003: 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.
101 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.
102 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.
103 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.
104 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.
105 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.
106 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).
107 A number of strategies have been implemented to combat crime. These include:
108 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.
109 Sexual assault counts include incidents committed prior to the reference period but reported to police in that reference period. The downward trend in sexual assault victims has been evident since 2006: the period between 2004 and 2006 corresponded to the review of claims of abuse from adults who were in State care as children. A number of these claims were referred to Tasmania Police for further investigation.
110 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.
111 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.
112 The following are examples of some initiatives/programs which were in operation in Tasmania:
The Northern Territory
113 The increase in assault victims between 2008 and 2009 has been attributed by Northern Territory Police to:
114 A number of new initiatives were introduced by Northern Territory Police during late 2006 and 2007 and this had influenced the rate of change for some offence types, particularly assault. Caution should therefore be exercised in interpreting data movements between 2006 and 2007.
115 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.
116 The Northern Territory Police IT system - PROMIS Case Management System - was significantly upgraded in 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; made to improve the quality of information being recorded about offences and victims from early 2007. These improvements were considered to have contributed to the increase in the recording of offences during 2007 and 2008.
117 In November 2007, the Legislative Assembly passed the Northern Territory Domestic and Family Violence Act (the Act). The definition of 'domestic relationship' within the Act is broader than the definition contained within the previous Domestic Violence Act 1992. The current NT Police Violent Crime General Order 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. The General Order also identifies that "a prosecution may proceed despite the wishes of an unwilling victim…". All family and domestic violence related assaults are recorded even if the victim does not want to proceed with criminal charges. In November 2008, NT Police committed to the Australasian Policing Strategy Prevention and Reduction of Family Violence. One of the success indicators of this strategy is "a recorded increase in the number of family violence incidents charged."
118 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; 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.
119 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 also significantly increased during 2007. The initiatives mentioned previously have influenced this direction.
120 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.
121 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'.
122 Sexual assault counts may include incidents committed prior to the reference period, but reported to police in that reference period.
123 The Northern Territory case management system does not include a 'no crime' outcome of investigation code. As a result, Northern Territory data may include victim counts for those situations where police have determined after investigation that 'no crime' has occurred. This differs to all other states and territories where 'no crime' data has been excluded from the 2009 victim counts.
124 A number of strategies exist in the Northern Territory to reduce crime:
The Australian Capital Territory
125 In 2009, ACT Policing reorganised resources within the organisation, increasing the number of full time positions in the Crime Prevention portfolio. This strategy is considered to have contributed to the decrease in the number of assault victims in the latter half of 2009.
126 Following a review of assaults in public places, which identified that increases in offences over preceding years had occurred predominantly in late night entertainment districts, ACT Policing in 2009 deployed increased numbers of police and used overlapping shifts to monitor the late night entertainment districts leading to a decrease in the number of assaults.
127 The targeting of repeat offenders through the establishment of permanent Property Crime teams in June 2006 may have contributed to the decrease of UEWI for 2007. However, the recent increase in the number of victims of property offences appears to be specifically related to the reorganisation of resources from Property Crime Investigations to Crime Prevention to address the causal factors. To address this impact further refinement of the balance in resourcing both investigative response capability and the crime prevention function was made which resulted in a reduction in property crime, whilst looking ahead to the long term benefits of the crime prevention strategy.
128 The recent increase in offences by juveniles, particularly offences such as stolen motor vehicles, burglaries and robberies has resulted in ACT Policing introducing strategies such as a proactive bail compliance program to reduce recidivist offending. Engagement, distraction and diversion strategies have also been implemented to reduce both the number of offenders and therefore victims. Significant progress has also been made in engaging with groups such as the multicultural, aged and indigenous communities to reduce their vulnerability to crime.
129 The Property Crime Reduction Strategy is one of many factors that may have contributed to a decrease in motor vehicle theft in 2007.
130 Motor vehicles that are stolen in the Australian Capital Territory, but recovered in another state/territory are recorded on the Australian Capital Territory operational IT systems and included in the counts.
131 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.
132 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.
133 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. As a result of these IT changes, data prior to 2006 may not be strictly comparable for person-related offences such as assault, sexual assaults and robbery and therefore comparisons with previous years should be interpreted with caution.
134 Care should be also 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.
135 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.
136 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.
137 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.
138 The Estimated Resident Population used in calculating the rates has been updated. See paragraphs 43-47 for further information. Consequently, some historical rates have been revised from previous years, despite the victims count remaining stable.
COMPARISONS TO OTHER ABS DATA
139 Another major source of measuring crime is the annual ABS Crime Victimisation 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 Victimisation, Australia, 2008-09 (cat. no. 4530.0)). The results of the next Crime and Safety Survey are expected to be released late 2010/early 2011. The Crime Victimisation Survey replaced the previous
Crime and Safety Survey (cat. no. 4509.0) that was last conducted in 2005.
140 A further source of crime victimisation which measures peoples experience of violence, harassment and stalking is the ABS 2005 Personal Safety Survey. This survey was 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)).
141 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
142 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 34-41) 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.
143 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 2009.
CONFIDENTIALITY OF TABULAR DATA
144 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.
145 Additional state and territory data are available free of charge on the ABS website under the 'Details' tab for this product. A list of these data cubes can be found at Appendix 2. Unpublished data may be available on request on a fee-for-service basis. For further information, contact the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics (NCCJS) by email at <email@example.com>.
146 Other ABS publications which may be of interest include:
Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0) - issued quarterly
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) - last issue 2006
Crime and Safety, New South Wales (cat. no. 4509.1) - irregular
Crime Victimisation, Australia (cat. no. 4530.0) - issued annually
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
Recorded Crime - Offenders, Australia (cat. no. 4519.0) - issued annually
Sexual Assault in Australia: A Statistical Overview (cat. no. 4523.0) - single issue
Year Book Australia (cat. no. 1301.0) - biennial
147 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are available from the ABS website <http://www.abs.gov.au>. The ABS also provides a Release Calendar on the website detailing products to be released in the next six months. The National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics within the ABS releases
Crime and Justice News (cat. no. 4500.0), an annual newsletter that is published on the ABS website. The National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics can be contacted by email <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
148 Non-ABS sources which may be of interest include:
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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This page last updated 22 June 2011