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Topics @ a Glance - National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics
Using Crime and Justice Statistics



The ABS National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics collects administrative data on crime from the police, criminal courts and corrections agencies in each state/territory in Australia. Publications reporting statistics in areas such as Recorded Crime - Victims, Recorded Crime - Offenders, Criminal Courts, Federal Defendants, Corrective Services, and Prisoners in Australia are available. To supplement administrative statistics, the ABS runs national crime and safety surveys such as the Crime Victimisation Survey, Personal Fraud Survey and the Personal Safety Survey as well as more general social surveys with crime and justice components such as the General Social Survey and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey. In addition, other publications produced by the ABS contain crime-related chapters and information such as Australian Social Trends and the Year Book Australia.

The Crime and Justice Releases page provides a more extensive summary of selected ABS datasets and outputs that are likely to be of general interest to researchers. In most instances, more detailed unpublished data may also be available on request. For more information regarding crime-relevant datasets, see the Directory of Statistical Sources or contact the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics; see Contacts.

A further repository of Crime and Justice-related statistical resources is the National Statistical Service (NSS), a coalition of agencies brought together to deliver a large range of relevant and high quality statistics. The NSS website provides links to ABS Crime and Justice publications such as the National Information Development Plan for Crime and Justice Statistics and non-standard publications such as the Differences in Recorded Crime Statistics paper. Links to other Australian Government agencies producing Crime and Justice statistics are also provided.


A number of statistical sources exist through which individuals, the community and governments come to understand crime. To make an informed decision, the statistics need to be well understood. All ABS statistical publications contain a range of information that can provide users with knowledge about the origin and limitations of statistics. This information is often listed in footnotes to data, Explanatory Notes, Technical Notes and Appendices.

An ABS information paper, Measuring Crime Victimisation in Australia: The impact of different collection methodologies (cat. no. 4522.0.55.001) was released on 5 February 2004. The paper aimed to increase understanding of crime victimisation measurement and why the findings from different data sources may differ. The information paper focuses predominately on survey methodology, however references are also made to differences between survey and administrative data. There are numerous elements that combine to make up a single survey methodology, and differences between surveys in one or more of these may impact on the overall data collection. Those outlined and investigated in the Information Paper include:
  • sample design and selection
  • scope and coverage
  • questionnaire format and content
  • survey procedure
  • response rate.

The ABS released another information paper, Measuring Victims of Crime: A Guide to Using Administrative and Survey data (cat. No. 4500.0.55.001) in June 2011 to explore the differences between administrative data sourced from police agencies and crime victimisation survey data, using analysis of recent statistics published by the ABS. The paper aims to increase community understanding of how the experiences of victims of crime in Australia are measured and to explore why the findings from different data sources may differ. A working example of comparisons between the two different data sources is used to demonstrate the impact of varying data collection methodologies on data for a range of offence types. The paper also offers guidance about which data source is best suited to particular research questions.


A Directory of Statistical Sources contains information on ABS sources of data on crime and justice, as listed below:

Causes of Death
Community Safety Survey, Tasmania
Corrective Services Statistics: Prisons (National)
Crime and Safety Survey
Crime and Safety Survey, NSW
Crime and Safety, WA
Crime and Safety, South Australia
Crime Statistics Collection (National)
Crime Victimisation Survey
Criminal Courts
Federal Defendants
General Social Survey
Health Survey (National)
Home Safety and Security
Indigenous Health Survey (National)
Mental Health and Well-being (Survey of)
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS)
Personal Fraud, Australia
Personal Safety, Australia
Population Survey Monitor
Prisoners in Australia
Recorded Crime - Offenders
Recorded Crime - Victims
Usage of Legal Services, NSW
Volunteering Emergency Services and Crime, Tasmania
Women's Safety Survey

The Directory of Statistical Sources also provides links to non-ABS websites with access to statistical agencies and services, theme-related research or reports specifically through a link to the National Statistical Service (NSS). The NSS is an initiative which supports a whole of government approach to the management of statistical information. Its aim is to increase the range of good quality statistical information available for decision making, and forge statistical partnerships to share knowledge and expertise.
The NSS Handbook provides detailed information covering the statistical cycle from planning statistical activities to disseminating and evaluating statistical information.


A Statistical Concepts Library contains useful statistical and survey development tools and information such as: Statistical Frameworks and Statistical Standards; concepts, sources and methods; and the following ABS Classification Standards:
Australian Standard Classification of Drugs of Concern, 2011 (cat. no. 1248.0)
Australian Standard Geographical Classification, 2011 (cat. no. 1216.0)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification 2011(ANZSOC) (cat. no. 1234.0)
Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups, 2011 (cat. no. 1249.0)

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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