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3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2006 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/03/2008   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES


INTRODUCTION

1 This publication contains statistics on causes of death for Australia, together with selected statistics on perinatal deaths.


2 Statistics on perinatal deaths for years prior to 1994 were published separately in Perinatal Deaths, Australia (cat. no. 3304.0).


3 Statistics on suicide deaths for years prior to 2006 were published separately in Suicides, Australia (cat. no. 3309.0)


4 The data presented in this publication are also included in a series of spreadsheets that are available on the ABS website. Any references to tables in the Explanatory Notes also refers to these spreadsheets.


5 A glossary is provided in the Explanatory Notes tab detailing definitions of terminology used



SCOPE AND COVERAGE

6 The statistics in chapters 1-6 relate to the number of deaths registered, not those which actually occurred, in the years shown. Statistics in chapter 7 relate to deaths by year of occurrence.



Scope of causes of death statistics

7 The ABS causes of death statistics collection includes all deaths that occurred and were registered in Australia, including deaths of persons whose usual residence is overseas. Deaths of Australian residents that occurred outside Australia may be registered by individual Registrars, but are not included in ABS deaths or causes of death statistics.


8 The scope of the statistics includes:

  • All deaths being registered for the first time.
  • Deaths in Australia of temporary visitors to Australia.
  • Deaths occurring within Australian Territorial waters.
  • Deaths occurring in Australian Antarctic Territories or other external territories (excluding Norfolk Island).
  • Deaths occurring in transit (i.e. on ships or planes) if registered in the State of "next port of call".
  • Deaths of Australian Nationals overseas who were employed at Australian legations and consular offices (i.e. deaths of Australian diplomats while overseas) where able to be identified.
  • Deaths that occurred in earlier reference periods that have not been previously registered (late registrations)

9 The scope of the statistics excludes:
  • Still births/ foetal deaths (these are accounted for in perinatal deaths).
  • Repatriation of human remains of decedents whose death occurred overseas.
  • Deaths overseas of foreign diplomatic staff (where these are able to be identified).
  • Deaths occurring on Norfolk Island.

10 The scope of the collection is all deaths registered in Australia for the reference year, two years prior to the current year and the first quarter of the subsequent year. As an example: records received by the ABS during the March quarter of 2007 which were initially registered in 2006 (but not fully completed until 2007) are assigned to the 2006 processing year. Any registrations relating to 2006 which are received by the ABS after the end of the March quarter are assigned to the 2007 processing year.



Coverage of Causes of Death Statistics

11 Ideally, for compiling annual time series, the number of events (deaths) should be recorded and reported as those occurring within a given reference period such as a calendar year. However, due to lags in registration of events and the provision of that information to the ABS, this ideal is unlikely to be met under the current legislation and registration business processes. Therefore, the occurrence event is approximated by addition of the event on a state/territory register of deaths. Also, some additions to the register can be delayed in being received by the ABS from the Registrar (processing or data transfer lags). In effect there are 3 dates attributable to each death registration:

  • The date of occurrence (of the death),
  • The date of registration or inclusion on the State/Territory register,
  • The month in which the registered event is lodged with the ABS.

12 About 4% to 6% of deaths occurring in one year are not registered until the following year or later.



Scope of Perinatal Death Statistics

13 The perinatal death statistics contained in this publication, unless otherwise stated, include all fetuses and infants delivered weighing at least 400 grams or (when birth weight is unavailable) the corresponding gestational age (20 weeks), whether alive or dead. In this definition, the ABS has adopted the legal requirement for registration of a perinatal death as the statistical standard. This definition recognises the availability of reliable 400 grams/20 weeks data from all state and territory Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and also meets the requirements of major users in Australia.


14 For 1996 and previous editions of this publication, data relating to perinatal deaths were based upon the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended definition for compiling national perinatal statistics. The WHO definition of perinatal deaths included infants and fetuses weighing at least 500 grams or having a gestational age of 22 weeks or body length of 25 centimetres crown-heel.


15 The birth statistics used to calculate the perinatal and neonatal death rates in this publication are shown in Appendix 1. Appendix Table A1.3 details registered live birth statistics and stillbirth statistics adjusted to exclude infants who are known to have weighed under 400 grams. Such births are identified from the medical certificate of perinatal death, which records birth weight.


16 The adjusted birth statistics differ from the birth statistics used to derive the infant death rates in this publication. The statistics used to calculate infant death rates include all registered live births regardless of birth weight. These statistics are shown in table A1.2 of Appendix 1.


17 The adjusted birth statistics also differ from the statistics published in Births, Australia (cat. no. 3301.0), which are unadjusted for birth weight, i.e. births known to have weighed less than 400 grams are included in that publication. For years 1993 to 1996, births which occurred in Other Territories were excluded from adjusted live births used in calculating perinatal rates.



CLASSIFICATIONS

Socio-Demographic Classifications

18 A range of socio-demographic data is available from the causes of death collection. Standard classifications used in the presentation of causes of death statistics include age, sex, birthplace, marital status, multiple birth, occupation and Indigenous status. Statistical standards for social and demographic variables have been developed by the ABS.


Marital Status

19 Within ABS causes of death statistics marital status relates only to registered marital status which refers to formally registered marriages or divorces for which the partners hold a certificate.


20 For further information about Marital Status refer to 1286.0 - Family, Household and Income Unit Variables, 2005


Indigenous Status

21 The term Indigenous is used to refer to Australian Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders. Those who are identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin through the death registration process are classified as Indigenous persons.


22 For further information about Indigenous Status refer to 1289.0 - Standards for Statistics on Cultural and Language Diversity, 1999


Occupation

23 The occupation classification used in ABS causes of death statistics is the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) First Edition 2006. The ABS however has not published causes of death data with an occupation variable since the 2002 reference year. The ABS considers the quality of the data able to be produced for this variable to be insufficient for reasonable analysis.


24 For further information on ANZSCO First Edition, refer to ANZSCO: Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupation, First Edition (cat. no. 1220.0).



Geographic Classifications

Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC)

25 The ASGC is a hierarchical classification system consisting of six interrelated classification structures. The ASGC provides a common framework of statistical geography and thereby enables the production of statistics which are comparable and can be spatially integrated. These provide causes of Death statistics with a ‘where’ dimension.


26 For further information about the ASGC refer to. 1216.0 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), Jul 2007


Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC)

27 The SACC groups neighbouring countries into progressively broader geographic areas on the basis of their similarity in terms of social, cultural, economic and political characteristics. The SACC is the revised edition of the Australian Standard Classification of Countries for Social Statistics (ASCCSS). The SACC also incorporates previous revisions to the ASCCSS.


28 Birthplaces within Australia are coded to the state/territory level where possible. The supplementary codes contain the relevant state and territory 4-digit codes.


29 For further information about the SACC refer to 1269.0 - Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 1998 (Revision 2.03)



Health Classifications

International Classification of Diseases (ICD)

30 The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is the international standard classification for epidemiological purposes and is designed to promote international comparability in the collection, processing, classification, and presentation of causes of death statistics. The classification is used to classify diseases and causes of disease or injury as recorded on many types of medical records as well as death records The ICD has been revised periodically to incorporate changes in the medical field. Currently ICD 10th revision is used for Australian causes of death statistics


31 ICD-10 is a variable-axis classification meaning the epidemiological data and statistical data is grouped as follows:

  • epidemic diseases
  • constitutional or general diseases
  • local diseases arranged by site
  • developmental diseases injuries

32 For further information about the ICD refer to WHO | International Classification of Diseases (ICD).


33 An online version of the ICD 10th Revision can be found by following this link ICD-10:



DATA SOURCES

34 The registration of deaths is the responsibility of the individual state and territory Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages. As part of the registration process, information about the causes of death is supplied by the medical practitioner certifying the death or by a coroner. Other information about the deceased is supplied by a relative or other person acquainted with the deceased, or by an official of the institution where the death occurred. This information is provided to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) by individual Registrars for coding and compilation into aggregate statistics shown in this publication. In addition, the ABS supplements this data with information from the National Coroners Information Service (NCIS). Further information regarding causes of death data sources can be obtained from:


35 3317.0.55.001 - Information Paper: Causes of Death, Data Quality, 2005


36 3317.0.55.002 - Information Paper: ABS Causes of Death Statistics: Concepts, Sources, and Methods, 2008



MORTALITY CODING

37 The tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Health Related Problems (ICD-10) was adopted for Australian use for deaths registered from 1 January 1999. However, to identify changes between the ninth and tenth revisions, deaths for 1997 and 1998 were coded to both revisions. See Appendix 2 for concordances


38 The extensive nature of the ICD enables classification of causes of death at various levels of detail. For the purpose of this publication, two summary classifications are used. They are:

  • the ICD at the chapter level (with further disaggregation for major causes of death)
  • selected causes of death for age groups.

39 To enable the reader to see the relationship between the various summary classifications used in this publication, all tables show in brackets the ICD codes which constitute the causes of death covered.



Updates to ICD-10

40 The Updating and Revision Committee (URC), a WHO advisory group on updates to ICD-10, maintains the cumulative and annual lists of approved updates to the ICD-10 classification. The updates to ICD-10 are of numerous types including addition and deletion of codes, changes to coding instructions and modification and clarification of terms.


41 The cumulative list of ICD-10 updates can be found here Updates to ICD-10



Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

42 As ICD-9 did not directly accommodate the coding of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and AIDS-related deaths, cases where AIDS was the underlying cause were coded to ICD-9 deficiency of cell-mediated immunity (279.1), from 1988 to 1995. In 1996, ABS adopted ICD-9 Clinically Modified (CM) for coding of AIDS and AIDS-related deaths. Hence, for 1996 to 1998, all AIDS-related deaths (i.e. deaths where AIDS was mentioned in any place on the death certificate) were coded to HIV infection (042-044). ICD-10 adopted from 1999 allows for the coding of AIDS and AIDS-related deaths (B20-B24).



Perinatal statistics

43 For perinatal deaths, both the main condition in the fetus/infant, and the main condition in the mother are coded to the full four-digit level of the tenth revision of ICD. Causes selected for publication in this issue are those categories which were responsible for a significant proportion of perinatal deaths.



External Causes of Death

44 Deaths that are classified to External Causes are generally of the kind that are reported to Coroners for investigation. Although what constitutes a reportable death varies across jurisdictions, they are generally reported in circumstances such as:

  • Where the person died unexpectedly and the cause of death is unknown;
  • Where the person died in a violent or unnatural manner;
  • Where the person died during or as a result of an anaesthetic;
  • Where the person was 'held in care' or in custody immediately before they died; and
  • Where the identity of the person who has died is unknown.

45 Where an accidental or violent death occurs, the underlying cause is classified according to the circumstances of the fatal injury, rather than the nature of the injury which is coded separately.



Leading Causes of Death

46 Ranking causes of death is a useful method of describing patterns of mortality in a population and allows comparison over time and between populations. However, different methods of grouping causes of death can result in a vastly different list of leading causes for any given population. A ranking of leading causes of death based on broad cause groupings such as 'cancers' or 'heart disease' does not identify the leading causes within these groups, which is needed to inform policy on interventions and health advocacy. Similarly, a ranking based on very narrow cause groupings or including diseases that have a low frequency, can be meaningless in informing policy.


47 The Australian Bureau of Statistics, from the 2006 reference year, publishes leading causes of death tabulations based on research presented in the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation, Volume 84, Number 4, April 2006, 257-336. The determination of groupings in this list is primarily driven by data from individual countries representing different regions of the world. Other groupings were based on prevention strategies, or to maintain homogeneity within the groups of cause categories.


48 A number of organisations publish lists of leading causes of death, however the basis for determining the leading causes may vary. For example many lists are based on Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL) and are designed to present data based on the burden of mortality and disease to the community. The basis of the ABS listing of leading causes is based on the numbers of deaths and is designed to present information on incidence of mortality rather than burden of mortality.



State and Territory Data

49 Causes of death statistics for states and territories in this publication have been compiled in respect of the state or territory of usual residence of the deceased, regardless of where in Australia the death occurred and was registered. The state or territory of usual residence for a perinatal death is determined by the state or territory of usual residence of the mother.


50 Statistics compiled on a state or territory of registration basis are available on request.



Births Data

51 Appendix 1 provides details of the number of live births registered which have been used to calculate the infant death rates shown in this publication. Appendix 1 provides data on adjusted births used for calculating perinatal death rates. These also enable further rates to be calculated.



DATA QUALITY

52 In compiling causes of death statistics, the ABS employs a variety of measures to improve quality, which include:

  • providing certifiers with certification booklets for guidance in reporting causes of death on medical certificates
  • seeking additional information, where necessary, from medical practitioners. The type and number of death records which are queried varies each processing year. The development of a query strategy for each particular processing year will take into consideration issues such as the resources available to undertake the query action and particular types of deaths which have in previous years been reported with lower levels of specificity on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.
  • seeking detailed information from the National Coroners Information Service (NCIS), and if resources allow from coroners directly; and
  • editing checks at the individual record and aggregate levels.

53 The quality of causes of death coding can be affected by changes in the way information is reported by certifiers, by lags in completion of coroner cases and the processing of the findings. While changes in reporting and lags in coronial processes can affect coding of all causes of death, those coded to Chapter XVIII: Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified and Chapter XX: External causes of morbidity and mortality are more likely to be affected because the code assigned within the chapter may vary depending on the coroner's findings.


54 Care should be taken in interpreting results in recent years for several groups of causes within Chapter XX: External causes of morbidity and mortality. See Causes of Death, Australia 2005 (cat. no. 3303.0) Explanatory Notes for further information. See also Information Paper: Causes of Death Statistics, 2006 (3317.0.55.001)


55 Further detail on issues regarding deaths certified by a Coroner can be found in Technical Note: Coroner Certified Deaths.


56 One measure of causes of death statistics quality is the proportion of deaths coded to Chapter XVIII; Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified (ICD-10 codes R00-R99). Although deaths occur for which the underlying causes are impossible to determine, this proportion indicates the specific causes of death which are listed on the Medical certificate of causes of Death as completed by the certifier (i.e. Doctor or Coroner). The proportion of deaths coded to Chapter XVIII has increased steadily over the last 10 years from 0.4% (474 deaths) in 1997 to 1.1% (1518) in 2006. A major reasons for the increase in the number of deaths coded to non-specific causes relate to a change in ABS processes for obtaining information regarding coroner certified deaths. For 2006 deaths the ABS relied totally on information available on the National Coronial Information System( NCIS) for information related to deaths certified by a Coroner. In previous years, the ABS had sought additional information on coroner certified deaths were information was not available on NCIS by undertaking personal visits to Coroner offices to extract information from paper records.



Suicide (X60-X84)

57 Coding of suicide (intentional self harm) is undertaken by the ABS according to the coding rules of ICD-10. In order for a death to be coded as a suicide by the ABS, the intent notification on the National Coronial Information System must be "Intentional Self Harm". Where a case is closed on NCIS, the ABS codes the causes of death details using the final determination of intent. Where a case remains open on the NCIS at the time that the ABS ceases processing, the "intent at notification" which is recorded on NCIS is utilised by the ABS to code the causes of death. The causes of death statistics are not revised once a coronial enquiry is finalised.


58 The specificity with which cases are able to be allocated to a code for an external causes of death depends on the amount of information available at the point in time at which coding is being undertaken. The following codes may include cases which could potentially have been suicides but for which the intent was determined to be other than Intentional Self Harm. Such cases cannot be separately identified in the final causes of death statistics.

  • Pedestrian injured in collision with railway train or railway vehicle (V05)
  • Motorcycle rider injured in noncollision transport accident (V28)
  • Occupant of three-wheeled motor vehicle injured in noncollision transport accident (V38)
  • Car Occupant injured in noncollision transport accident (V48)
  • Occupant of pick up truck or van injured in noncollision transport accident (V58)
  • Occupant of heavy transport vehicle injured in noncollision transport accident (V68)
  • Person injured in other specified noncollision transport accidents involving motor vehicle (traffic) (V878)
  • Firearm discharge (W32, W33, W34)
  • Accidental drowning (W65, W67, W69 ,W73, W74)
  • Accidental strangulation/hanging/suffocation (W75, W76, W83, W84)
  • Accidental falls (W13, W15, W16, W17, W19)
  • Contact with sharp glass (W25)
  • Contact with knife, sword or dagger (W26)
  • Contact with nonpowered hand tool (W27)
  • Contact with other powered hand tools and household machinery (W29)
  • Exposure to unspecified electric current (W87)
  • Exposure to ignition of highly flammable material (X04)
  • Exposure to unspecified smoke, fire and flames (X09)
  • Exposure to unspecified factor (X59)
  • Accidental poisoning by and exposure to noxious substances (X40-X49 especially X47 - carbon monoxide, X48 - herbicides, X49 - chemicals)
  • Events of Undetermined Intent (Y20-Y34)
  • Other ill-defined and Unspecified Causes of Mortality (R99)


Perinatal Deaths (P00-P96)

59 There is some variability over time across a range of the perinatal death categories and where the numbers are small, caution should be applied in drawing inferences about change over time.



Indigenous deaths

60 While it is considered likely that most deaths of Indigenous Australians are registered, a proportion of these deaths are not identified as Indigenous by the family, health worker or funeral director during the death registration process. That is, whilst data is provided to the ABS for the Indigenous status question for 99% of all deaths, there are concerns regarding the accuracy of the data. The Indigenous status question is not always being directly asked of relatives and friends of the deceased by the funeral director


61 The ABS publishes two statistical series that provide counts of annual number of Indigenous deaths. Each is based on a different collection, with a different propensity to identify as Indigenous. The first is a count of the number and characteristics of registered deaths which have been identified as Indigenous. The second, Experimental population Estimates and Projections, is derived from the previous Census, adjusted for undercount, and also uses registered deaths information. The most recent published data in this series is published in Experimental Estimates and Projections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2009 (cat. no. 3238.0). In this publication the level of mortality is presented in the 1996-2001 experimental life tables. There are two estimates of the number of Indigenous deaths each year.


62 The ratio of the number of Indigenous deaths registered to the number of expected deaths compiled from population projections is referred to as the 'implied coverage rate' and is used to assess the extent to which identification of Indigenous people occurs in the deaths collection. Given the experimental nature of the base populations, any estimates of coverage are only indicative. The assessment of the completeness of coverage of Indigenous deaths should be interpreted with caution. The table below provides current estimates of implied coverage rates for each of the states and territories.


63 This publication presents in Table 6.1 Indigenous deaths data for 2006 for all states and territories except Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, which are not separately published due to a combination of comparatively small numbers, and relatively low coverage of reported Indigenous deaths.

Indigenous deaths(a), Implied coverage - 2002-2006

Deaths registered as Indigenous
Projected Indigenous deaths
Implied coverage of Indigenous deaths(b)
State or territory
no.
no.
%

New South Wales
2 528
5 563
45
Victoria
382
1 204
32
Queensland
2 841
5 560
51
South Australia
641
1 040
62
Western Australia
1 958
2 726
72
Tasmania
111
np
(c)np
Northern Territory
2 252
2 490
90
Australian Capital Territory
48
np
(c)np
Australia(d)
10 771
19 411
55

np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated
(a) See ABS cat.no. 3302.0 (Deaths, Australia) 2006 Explanatory Notes Paragras 13 to 18 for more information.
(b) Calculated as the ratio of deaths registered as Indigenous to projected Indigenous deaths.
(c) Not calculated due to small numbers of Indigenous deaths.
(d) Includes other territories.



SPECIFIC ISSUES FOR 2006 DATA

64 A number of issues should be taken into account by users when analysing the 2006 causes of death data



Coding Changes

65 The ABS implemented a new version of the MMDS for 2006 data. The new version of the MMDS coding software includes new coding algorithms to ensure that updates to ICD-10 are implemented in the production of the statistics



Dementia

66 There has been a significant increase in the number of deaths coded to Dementia (FO1-FO3). Updates to the coding instructions in ICD-10 has resulted in the assignment of some deaths shifting from Cerebrovascular diseases to Vascular Dementia (ICD-10 code F01). In addition changes to the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 and Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004, and a subsequent promotional campaign targeted at health professionals, now allow for death from vascular dementia of veterans or members of the defence forces to be related to relevant service. No changes to ABS coding or query practices were made with regard to 2006 data which would impact on the number of deaths coded as Dementia.



Unspecified Causes of Mortality

67 The introduction of a new version of the MMDS software has corrected a previous coding error. Prior to 2006, deaths due to natural causes with no further information were coded to R98 Unattended Death. From 2006 these records are now coded to R99 Other ill-defined and Unspecified Causes of Mortality


68 Information regarding coroner certified deaths prior to 2002 was obtained by ABS staff visiting coronial offices and investigating case files in order to determine causes of death. In 2003, in order to make most effective and efficient use of ABS resources, the National Coronial Information System (NCIS) was progressively introduced as the main source of information on coroner certified deaths, however visits by ABS staff continued to be made in a number of jurisdictions. From 2006, the NCIS is the only source of data used by the ABS for coroner certified deaths. This has resulted in an increase in the number of deaths assigned to R99 Other ill-defined and Unspecified Causes of Mortality due to the unavailability of information on the NCIS, particularly for New South Wales and Queensland. For further information see Coroner Certified Deaths: Technical Note.



Falls (W00-W19)

69 To reduce risk factors for falls in nursing homes in Victoria, all deaths where the medical certificate mentions falls are now referred to the coroner for verification, and the Coroner Clinical Liaison Service implemented a falls awareness campaign mid 2003. The number of deaths due to falls recorded in Victoria increased significantly in 2003 (up 50%), 2004 (over 100%) and 2005 (14.1%) and in 2006 (2.8%) whereas in previous years the deaths may have been attributed to other causes such as hypostatic pneumonia.



Perinatal Deaths

70 Only limited data is available for Perinatals for 2006. Additional data for 2006 will be published in the 2007 Causes of Death publication.



Transport Accidents

71 The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has published data in Road Deaths Australia 2006, Statistical Summary for the number of deaths due to road traffic accidents in 2006 (1,601 deaths). 2006 Causes of Death data records 1,497 deaths due to road traffic accidents. The differences in the numbers (104 deaths) between the two collections are explained by the different scope and coverage rules for each collection. In addition a number of road traffic-related deaths may be coded to R99 Other ill-defined and Unspecified Causes of Mortality due to the unavailability of information on the NCIS, particularly for New South Wales and Queensland.



Assault

72 The number of deaths recorded as assault (murder) have decreased significantly over the last 10 years, from 300 in 1997 to 155 in 2006. The number of deaths due to murder published in the Causes of Death publication vary from those previously published by the ABS in Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4510.0). Whilst there are differences in the scope and coverage of the two collections, this is not sufficient to explain the differences in numbers. A reluctance by Coroners to make a final determination of Assault until legal proceedings have been finalised and the high number cases with a status of "open" on the NCIS may also impact on the causes of death statistics.

Comparison of deaths caused by assault - 2006

NSW
Vic
Qld
SA
WA
Tas
NT
ACT
Australia

Recorded Crime - Victims
107
63
68
18
36
7
17
3
319
Causes of Death
65
14
23
16
19
np
13
np
155

np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated


73 The following codes may include cases which could potentially have been assaults but for which the intent was determined to be other than Assault. Such cases cannot be separately identified in the final causes of death statistics;

  • Falls (W13, W15, W17)
  • Striking, contact and exposure (W20-W22, W25, W27, W40, W49, W50, W51, W81)
  • Firearm discharge (W32, W33, W34)
  • Accidental strangulation/hanging/suffocation (W75, W76, W83, W84)
  • Contact with knife, sword or dagger (W26)
  • Exposure to unspecified factor (X59)
  • Events of Undetermined Intent (Y20-Y34)
  • Other ill-defined and Unspecified Causes of Mortality (R99)


Suicide

74 The number of deaths recorded as intentional self harm (suicide) has decreased over the last 10 years, from 2720 in 1997 to 1799 in 2006. A reluctance by Coroners to make a determination of "suicide" and the high number cases with a status of "open" on the NCIS have impacted on the 2006 suicide data. Where coroners' cases are not finalised and the findings are not available to the ABS in time for publication of causes of death statistics, deaths are coded to other accidental, ill-defined or unspecified causes rather than suicide. See paragraph 50 for further details. The causes of death statistics are not revised once a coronial enquiry is finalised.


75 Suicide deaths in children are an extremely sensitive issue for families and coroners. The number of child suicides registered each year is low in relative terms and is likely to be underestimated. For that reason this publication does not include detailed information about suicides for children aged under 15 years. There was an average of 10.3 suicide deaths per year of children under 15 years over the period 1997 to 2006; the highest number was registered in 1999 (17), the lowest in 2006 (7). For boys the average number of suicides per year was 6.7, while for girls the average number was 3.6. These correspond to rates of approximately 0.3 per 100,000 boys and 0.2 per 100,000 girls in this age group over this period.



EFFECTS OF ROUNDING

76 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between totals and sums of the component items.



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

77 The ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available.



RELATED PRODUCTS

78 Other ABS publications which may be of interest are outlined below. Please note, older publications may no longer be available through ABS bookshops but are available through ABS libraries. All publications released from 1998 onwards are available on the ABS website <http://www.abs.gov.au>


79 ABS products and publications are available free of charge from the ABS website <http://www.abs.gov.au>. Click on Statistics to gain access to the full range of ABS statistical and reference information. For details on products scheduled for release in the coming week, click on the Future Releases link on the ABS homepage.



ADDITIONAL STATISTICS AVAILABLE

80 As well as the statistics included in this and related products, additional information is available from the ABS web site at <http://www.abs.gov.au> by accessing the topics listed at Themes>People. The ABS may also have other relevant data available on request. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or by sending an email to client.services@abs.gov.au.


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