The effects of criminal activity, as well as people's perceptions about the extent of such activity, impact directly or indirectly on the quality of people's lives. This chapter provides an overview of the Australian criminal justice system, including people's interaction with the system either as offenders or as victims of crime. Data are presented on the characteristics of victims of crime and criminal offenders and on outcomes from the justice process. These data are sourced from administrative data collected by a range of agencies operating in the field of crime and justice and from periodic household surveys conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Justice is primarily administered through state and territory governments, with local variation in legislation, processes and operational structures. However, by taking account of these differences, nationally comparable crime and justice statistics provide indicators of the level and nature of crime across Australia and the associated outcomes of the criminal justice system.
The chapter concludes with an article Personal fraud, in which findings from the 2007 Personal Fraud Survey are presented.