4906.0.55.003 - Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/11/2017   
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GENERAL SAFETY

POPULATION

Information was obtained from men and women aged 18 years and over in the 2016 PSS.

DEFINITION

All respondents were asked about their general feelings of safety in the last 12 months in selected situations:

  • Using and waiting for public transport alone after dark
  • Walking in local area alone after dark
  • Home alone after dark

METHODOLOGY

The general safety module measures the extent to which people worry about their personal safety in their local area and at home and their perceived general feelings of safety in the last 12 months.

The information collected about general feelings of safety includes:
  • Whether used public transport alone after dark in the last 12 months
  • Feelings of safety using public transport alone after dark in the last 12 months
  • Feelings of safety waiting for public transport alone after dark in the last 12 months
  • Reasons for not using public transport alone after dark
  • Whether walked alone in local area after dark in the last 12 months
  • Feelings of safety walking in the local area alone after dark in the last 12 months
  • Reasons for not walking alone in local area after dark in the last 12 months
  • Feelings of safety when home alone after dark in the last 12 months
  • Reasons for not staying home alone after dark

DATA ITEMS

The data items and related output categories for this topic are contained within the SPS Level – General safety tab in the data item list which is available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads tab of this product.

DATA USES

Feelings of safety can influence peoples’ behaviour and their attitude to others in the community in general. The main purpose of these questions is to collect information about a person’s perception of whether they feel safe when:
  • Using and waiting for public transport alone after dark
  • Walking alone in their local area after dark
  • When home alone after dark

These questions can also try to assist in determining if the reasons people don’t do these things is due to them feeling unsafe.

Data for this topic has been collected to provide further analytical possibilities around the relationship between feelings of general safety and characteristics of people who experience violence.

INTERPRETATION

Points to be considered when interpreting data for this topic include the following:
  • Alone meant the person did not have anyone else with them. However, if a person was at home with a young child, they may have felt as if they were alone and therefore were treated as such.
  • Public transport includes buses, trains, trams, taxis, and ferries.
  • Local area is defined as the respondent’s neighbourhood or suburb (i.e. close to the respondent’s home).
  • A person who was walking with their dog was considered to be walking alone.

COMPARABILITY WITH PREVIOUS SURVEYS

Information about general feelings of safety was collected in the 2005 and 2012 editions of the PSS, as well as the 1996 Women’s Safety Survey and is considered comparable with these surveys.