4524.0 - In Focus: Crime and Justice Statistics, July 2012  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/07/2012   
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  • Glossary


Ability to have a say in the community
A measure of social capital which reflects a person's perceived efficacy in their community. People were asked whether they felt they were able to have a say within the general community, on issues that are important to them, all of the time, most of the time, some of the time, a little of the time or none of the time.

Ability to raise emergency money
The perceived ability to raise emergency money is a measure of financial stress. People were asked whether they, or other members of the household, could obtain $2,000 for something important within a week.

Acceptance of other cultures

Designed to gauge community acceptance of diverse cultures. The question asks the respondent the extent to which they agree or disagree with the statement that 'It is a good thing for a society to be made up of people from different cultures.'


The age of a person on their last birthday.

Attendance at a community event

This measure of integration into the community reflects whether a person has attended any events that bring people in their community together such as fetes, shows, festivals or other events in the six months prior to interview.


A person of any age who is a natural, adopted, step, or foster son or daughter of a couple or lone parent, usually resident in the same household, and who does not have a child or partner of his/her own usually resident in the household.


Two people in a registered or de facto marriage, who usually live in the same household.

Equivalised Household Income

Gross household income adjusted using an equivalence scale. For a lone person household it is equal to gross household income. For a household comprising more than one person, it is an indicator of the gross household income that would need to be received by a lone person household to enjoy the same level of economic well-being as the household in question For more detail see Appendix 2 in the explanatory notes of General Social Survey, Australia, 2010 (cat.no 4159.0).

Gross household income is all current receipts that are usually or regularly received by the household or by individual members of the household, and which are available for, or intended to support, current consumption. This includes receipts from wages and salaries (including salary sacrificed income), profit or loss from own unincorporated business (including partnerships), net investment income (e.g. interest, rent, dividends), government pensions and allowances, and private transfers (e.g. superannuation, workers' compensation, income from annuities, child support and financial support from family members not living in the same household). Gross household income is the sum of the income from all these sources before income tax, the Medicare levy and the Medicare levy surcharge are deducted.


Two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering, and who are usually resident in the same household. The basis of a family is formed by identifying the presence of a couple relationship, lone parent-child relationship or other blood relationship. Some households will, therefore, contain more than one family.

Feelings of safety

How safe a person feels in various circumstances (i.e. when home alone during the day, when home alone after dark, or when walking alone through their local area after dark) was reported on a five point scale, from very safe to very unsafe. If the respondent indicated that they were never home alone or never walked alone after dark this response was recorded.

Contact with family and friends

This is a measure of how frequently a person has had contact with family or friends who do not live with them. People were asked whether they have seen family or friends in the last three months, the last month, the last week or everyday.

Generalised trust

Generalised trust refers to the level of trust that individuals have toward other people in general. It is implicit in both simple interactions with others such as asking the time of a stranger and trusting that the correct response will be given and more complex interactions such as trusting that others will respect an individual's right to personal safety when walking along a street. Generalised trust reflects whether people feel they can go about their affairs confidently, expecting that others will generally deal fairly with them and act in the ways normally expected in our society.

To ascertain people's feelings of trust in others they were to rate on a 5 point scale asked how strongly they agreed or disagreed with the statement "that most people can be trusted". The response categories in the five point scale were: 'strongly agree', 'somewhat agree', 'neither agree nor disagree', 'somewhat disagree', and 'strongly disagree'. The phrase 'most people' is based on the respondent's interpretation - there is no specific definition.

Household composition

A selection of household composition categories are based on various family and household compositions. Categories presented are:

  • Couple family without children - a household consisting of a couple with no other related or unrelated persons usually resident. Households which also have other related or unrelated residents are not included.
  • Couple family with children - a household consisting of a couple and at least one child usually resident in the household. Households which also have other related or unrelated residents are not included.
  • One parent family - a household consisting of a lone parent and at least one child usually resident in the household. Households which also have other related or unrelated usual residents are not included.
  • Lone person household - a household consisting of a person living alone
  • Group household - a household consisting of two or more unrelated adults.
  • Other households - comprises all other households, including multi-family households.

Length of time in current home

Length of time in current home refers to the number of years a person has lived in current home at the date of interview. This measure of residential stability is an element of geographical transience or mobility and may affect the time people have had to establish networks.

Overall Life Satisfaction

Overall life satisfaction is a summary measure of subjective well-being. It measures a person's perceived level of life satisfaction in general and doesn't take into account specific illnesses or problems the person may have. People were asked to rate how they feel about their life as a whole against a seven point scale of delighted, pleased, mostly satisfied, mixed, mostly dissatisfied, unhappy or terrible, taking into account what has happened over the last year and what they expect to happen in the future.

Perceptions of social disorder problems in the local area

Social disorder includes antisocial behaviour and refers to behaviours which may or may not be criminal offences. People were asked whether they considered dangerous driving, people being insulted, pestered or intimidated in the street, public drunkenness, rowdy behaviour, offensive language, people hanging around in groups, noisy neighbours, people using or dealing drugs, graffiti, intentional damage to property (other than graffiti) or any other social disorder behaviour to be a problem in the local area. 'Local area' was self-defined by respondents, although interviewers were able to clarify this as meaning 'the area around where you live' if asked.

Personal stressors

Any of the following events or circumstances which the person considers have been a problem for themselves or someone close to them in the last 12 months:
  • serious accident
  • mental illness
  • serious disability
  • death of family member or close friend
  • divorce or separation
  • not able to get a job
  • involuntary loss of job
  • alcohol or drug related problems
  • gambling problem
  • abuse or violent crime
  • witness to violence
  • trouble with the police
Support in time of crisis

Refers to whether there is someone outside the person's household that could be asked for support in a time of crisis. Support could be in the form of emotional, physical or financial help. Potential sources of support could be family members, friends, neighbours, work colleagues and various community, government and professional organisations.

Trust in police
Trust in police is an element of institutional trust. It refers to the levels of trust that individuals may have towards the police, as a societal institution. This concept includes people's confidence in the capacity of the police both at the organisational and individual officer level to take reasonable actions in the administration of their duties.

To ascertain peoples feelings of trust in police they were asked to rate on a 5 point scale how strongly they agreed or disagreed with the statements
  • that police in your local areas can be trusted"; and
  • that police outside your local area can be trusted.
The response categories in the five point scale were: 'strongly agree', 'somewhat agree', 'neither agree nor disagree', 'somewhat disagree', and 'strongly disagree'.

Victim of actual or attempted break-in

A person who had experienced a break-in or attempted break-in at any place they had lived in the last 12 months. Break-ins to homes, garages or sheds are included. However, break-ins to cars or gardens are excluded.

Victim of physical or threatened violence

A person who in the last 12 months had physical force or violence used against them or threatened in person to be used against them. It includes violence or threats made by persons known to the respondent.