4500.0 - Crime and Justice News, Apr 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/04/2005   
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Children's Courts Collection Development

Development of a collection framework and strategy for the expansion of the ABS criminal courts collection to include the Children's Courts is underway. The collection strategy includes recommendations for the scope and coverage of a Children's criminal courts collection; a list of priority data needs; definitions and counting rules; and a proposal for a staged implementation process.

The aim is to begin to build an evidence base that will support policy development relating to juvenile offenders moving through the criminal courts. The development work hopes to:

  • provide nationally comparable, comprehensive statistics on the nature and extent of young people's involvement with the Children's criminal court system
  • provide a view across all of the criminal courts (Children's, Magistrates' and Higher courts)
  • work towards an integrated juvenile collection which will provide a view across other aspects of the criminal justice system.

The NCCSU will commence collecting test data early in 2005, with a view to providing some experimental statistics in the 2004-05 issue of Criminal Courts, Australia.

Any questions relating to the framework should be directed to <crime.justice@abs.gov.au>.

2005 Surveys

The ABS will be running a Personal Safety Survey (PSS) in 2005, with results scheduled for release around July 2006. A National Crime and Safety Survey (NCSS) will also be run in 2005, with results scheduled for release around May 2006.

A Framework for Electronic Crime

The National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics last year completed a collaborative project with the Australian High Tech Crime Centre (AHTCC) to assess e-crime information requirements in Australia. Initially, information is required to estimate the size of e-crime in terms of economic impact and frequency, and a description of the characteristics of incidents, offenders and victims.

A proposed definition of e-crime is '...a criminal offence where a computer or other (similar) electronic device is used as a tool to enable or enhance the commission of an offence, or is the target of the offence'. Under this definition a dichotomy between Enabled and Enhanced crimes is suggested. Enabled crimes are those crimes committed directly against computers, and that would not exist without the use of computers. Enhanced crimes are the more traditional crime types that are facilitated by the use of technology. Equipment theft is excluded from the definition as statistics are available from other sources and operational difficulties arise when determining the intention of a suspect.

A conceptual framework was designed to show the organisation of information that could facilitate the collection of e-crime statistics.
The framework is built around;
  1. influences that led to the need for a framework for e-crime statistics including legislation, overseas influence and the Electronic Crime Strategy
  2. recognition of the different potential sources for the data including Industry, Community, Police systems and other agencies
  3. delineation of statistics to be generated for e-crime based on the data requirements identified including size of problem, characteristics and costs. These statistics are not exhaustive or prescriptive; rather they provide an indication of the nature of information that may be available with the full implementation of the statistical framework.

Proposals to develop e-crime statistical information have been included in the National Information Development Plan for Crime and Justice.

Information Paper - 'Enhancing the Population Census: Developing a Longitudinal View'

The ABS will be releasing an information paper on 15 April about a proposal to enhance the value of 2006 Census of Population and Housing data by combining it over time with data from future censuses, and other ABS data.

The information paper will include specific information on key issues on which submissions are sought, as well as providing examples of potential cases where the enhanced data provides potential statistical value.

The ABS encourages the public and other interested parties to submit their views on the proposal. The information paper and submission form will be available on the ABS web site http://www.abs.gov.au from 15 April. Those wishing to provide feedback can lodge a submission on-line through the web site or on a paper form.

Director's Overseas Conference and Discussions

In November 2004 I attended a joint United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNECE/UNODC) conference on measuring crime victimisation. The conference was attended by some 35 countries and the main theme was comparability and effectiveness of victimisation measures. Delegates prepared papers and gave sessions on practice and issues in their countries; the Australian paper discussed current experience, particularly with survey measures. The conference determined that a Technical Advisory Group would be formed to advance best practice and develop standards in this area, with ABS accepting a role as a member of this group. I was also able to meet with counterparts at the UK Home Office and Statistics Canada to share experiences with crime and justice statistics.

Chris Libreri
Director, National Centre for Crime & Justice Statistics