Australian Bureau of Statistics
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The Criminal Courts collection adopts a number of national classifications.
From 2010-11 the Criminal Courts publication uses the Australia and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification and the National Offence Index 2009 to classify principal offence data. Past publications have used the Australian Standard Offence Classification (2008 and 1997 editions), and the National Offence Index 2002.
These classifications provide a framework for classifying criminal court information for statistical purposes and ensuring that the data are compiled on a consistent basis across the states and territories. The classifications are hierarchical and so allow for different levels of detail to be recorded depending on the level of detail in the source information. Associated with each classification are coding rules which ensure that the counting of information is consistent across states and territories.
For the first time in 2008-09 information was published on federal defendants. A federal defendant is a defendant in the Criminal Courts who has been charged with at least one offence against Commonwealth legislation. Since 2008-09 federal defendant information has also been published in a separate publication - Federal Defendants, Selected States & Territories (cat. no. 4515.0). For 2010-11 federal defendant information was not included in the Criminal Courts publication, but will be released in Federal Defendants, Selected States and Territories (cat. no. 4515.0).
Other concepts (summary)
Defendants who transfer between the Children's Courts and the Magistrates' or Higher Courts, or from a Magistrates' Court to a Higher Court, are considered to be initiated and finalised in each court level where they appear. Defendants who transfer from one Higher Court level to another (e.g. Intermediate to Supreme Court) are considered as initiated only once (in the level they first entered) and finalised only once (from the level they finally left).
Sentence length statistics were published for the first time for 2009-10 data. These statistics were sourced from the ABS Criminal Courts collection. These statistics are for custodial sentences handed down in the criminal jurisdiction of the Higher (Supreme and Intermediate) Courts of Australia, for the period 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010, for all states and territories, except Tasmania. Data for Tasmania were not available for inclusion. Data for the contributing states and territories have been aggregated to provide a total in the tables presented, unless otherwise specified.
New South Wales
Comments and/or Other Regions
The geographic definition of Australia, as used by the ABS, includes Other Territories. However, these territories are generally regarded as out of scope for ABS collections. For the Criminal Courts collection, defendants in Higher, Magistrates' and Children's Criminal Courts cases heard in the criminal courts on Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island are included in the counts for Western Australia, where applicable. Defendants in Jervis Bay Territory are not included in any counts in this publication.
The Criminal Courts collection was first published for the period 1 January to 31 December 1995 (titled 'Higher Criminal Courts Australia'). In 1996 the reference period moved from calendar year to financial year. That meant the collection was published for the calendar year 1996 and then for the financial year 1996-97. The reference period now remains as a financial year period.
The collection initially included only Higher Criminal Courts statistics (i.e. Intermediate and Supreme Courts). However, in 2001-02, Magistrates' Criminal Courts were also included as 'experimental' statistics in the appendices of the publication and the title of the publication changed to 'Criminal Courts, Australia'. From 2003-04, the Magistrates' Criminal Courts statistics appeared in the main suite of the publication without the 'experimental' status. In 2004-05, 'experimental' data on defendants in the Children's Courts were included in the publication, for most states and territories. From 2006-07, Children's Courts data have been included in the main suite of the publication without the 'experimental' status, for all states and territories and Australia. In 2008-09 defendants charged with Commonwealth offences were separately identified in the Criminal Courts publication for the first time. Further data on these defendants were released separately in 'Federal Defendants, Selected States and Territories (cat. no. 4515.0)'.
Data availability comments
The Criminal Courts collection is a financial year collection and statistics are released annually. The publication 'Criminal Courts, Australia' is released with a set of supplementary Data Cubes. Both the publication and the supplementary Data Cubes are available from the ABS website.
Previous publications (and associated supplementary Data Cubes where applicable) are available from the ABS website (earliest publication release is 1996).
Special data requests are available on a fee-for-service basis through the ABS National Information and Referral Service (Ph: 1300 135 070).
DATE OF LAST UPDATE FOR THIS DOCUMENT
28/05/2012 11:30 AM
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This page last updated 25 May 2012