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As Australia’s national statistical agency, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has an important role to play in ensuring that our statistics are accessible and can be easily understood by users in government, the media and the broader community to support informed decision-making. In doing so, it is crucial that in addition to publishing statistics, ABS also provides data users with tools to better understand the strengths and limitations of those statistics and ways in which they can be most appropriately utilised.
Crime victimisation is an area of social concern that presents many challenges for statistical measurement due to its complexity, sensitivity and the fact that its occurrence is often hidden. As a result, ABS conducts two primary complementary statistical collections to provide a more comprehensive picture of crime victimisation across Australia: Recorded Crime – Victims statistics and the national Crime Victimisation Survey. These collections – one gathered from police administrative records and another collected directly from respondents in a household survey – have significant differences in methodology, scope, coverage and definitions. While these data sources are complementary, they present different views of crime victimisation and it is important for data users to be informed about how to best employ these statistical series to answer key questions in an accurate and fit-for-purpose manner.
This paper is intended as a guide for users of crime statistics to assist in making informed decisions about which crime victimisation data source best meets their particular data needs. ABS is also redesigning the Recorded Crime – Victims, Australia (cat. no. 4510.0) publication to further assist users in understanding appropriate and inappropriate uses of data from this collection.
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