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The Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC) has been developed for use in the collection, analysis and dissemination of crime and justice statistics. It provides a classificatory framework for the comparison of statistics on offences across Australia. The ASOC replaces the Australian National Classification of Offences (ANCO), published by the ABS in 1985. The development of ASOC, which was undertaken in consultation with the courts, the police, corrections and other justice agencies Australia wide, resulted both from the need to update the existing classification and to address its recognised deficiencies.
The classification provides a uniform national statistical framework for classifying offences, for statistical purposes, for use by justice agencies and other persons and agencies with an interest in crime and justice issues (eg. police, courts, legal aid and correction agencies). The ASOC has been designed to take account of the criminal legal codes of all the various Australian jurisdictions.
For the purposes of ASOC an offence is defined as: any act or omission by a person or organisation for which a penalty could be imposed by the Australian legal system. The classification covers all unlawful acts and omissions included in the common law or statutes of all the Australian Commonwealth, State and Territory jurisdictions.
Structure of the classification
The ASOC has a hierarchical structure consisting of three levels:
The structure of the classification does not contain any 'seriousness' hierarchy. It is important that Classification codes not be used as a surrogate index of seriousness.
The 16 Divisions of the classification are:
Two, three and four digit codes are assigned to the first, second and third level units of the classification respectively. The first two digits identifies the Division, the first three digits taken together identify the Subdivision and the four digit code represents the Offence Group.
The following example illustrates the coding scheme:
The above is an example of the hierarchy of ASOC. The actual classification also contains additional detailed descriptive information at each level and for each category. As well as providing an actual definition it includes information relating to the types of offences that may be included and excluded for each category at every level of ASOC.
Concordances between the ANCO and ASOC show the relationship between the various categories within them, and therefore the degree of comparability of the data classified to them.
Further information may be obtained through the following products:
ASOC Release Date:
The ASOC was released on 14th October 1997.
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