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3. Statistics in this publication are derived from information held in administrative systems which are collected and maintained by police agencies within each state and territory. This information is collected by the ABS and has been compiled according to the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) in order to maximise consistency between states and territories.
4. National crime statistics are produced annually on a calendar year basis. The reference period for this publication relates to offences that have been reported to police between 1 January and 31 December 2013.
5. The offence categories used within this publication are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC), (third edition) (cat. no. 1234.0). The third edition of ANZSOC has been developed for use within Australia and New Zealand for the production and analysis of crime and justice statistics. It replaces the second edition and incorporates a title change from ASOC to ANZSOC only. The classification content and structure – which was updated in the second edition of ANZSOC following a minor review of the first edition of ASOC released in 1997 – remains unchanged.
6. The objective of the ANZSOC is to provide a uniform national statistical framework for classifying criminal behaviour in the production and analysis of crime and justice statistics. For further information on the mapping of national offence categories to the ANZSOC see the Appendix.
7. Given the complex nature of policing, many factors ultimately influence the level of recorded crime, which may not necessarily reflect changes in the actual number of criminal incidents:
§ Social, cultural and economic factors may influence the level of criminal offending or the level of reporting to police.
§ Recorded crime statistics are the by-product of an administrative system and are affected by changes within that system.
§ The introduction of new technologies or changes in police business practices and resources are also likely to influence levels of recorded crime.
§ Changes to legislation may also have an impact on the level of recorded crime and on the types of offences recorded.
8. National statistics, therefore, require a level of uniformity when compiling data from different states and territories. Over time significant differences and changes in the business rules, procedures, systems, policies and recording practices of police agencies across Australia have resulted in some discrepancies in data between states and territories for some offence types. A number of standards, classifications and counting rules have been developed since the inception of this collection to improve national comparability.
Differences in Recorded Crime Statistics Project
9. The National Crime Statistics Unit (NCSU) Board of Management commissioned the ABS to investigate discrepancies in the recording of crime statistics across jurisdictions. A paper outlining the conduct and outcomes of the Differences in Recorded Crime Statistics (DiRCS) project was released in 2005 and is available on the National Statistical Service website <www.nss.gov.au>.
10. Findings from the DiRCS project indicated that data for assault were not comparable across all states and territories. Testing of this offence type highlighted that there were inconsistent recording practices across the states and territories. Some jurisdictions almost always record a reported criminal incident on their crime recording system, whereas other jurisdictions apply a threshold test prior to a record being made (e.g. whether the victim wishes to proceed against the offender or the seriousness of the incident). These thresholds varied across jurisdictions and were not guided by national standards.
13. As part of the ABS's ongoing commitment to ensuring data comparability and quality, the NCRS was developed to address the lack of a uniform standard in the initial police recording processes identified in the DiRCS project. This standard complements the already established classifications and counting rules for the Recorded Crime – Victims collection and improves the level of comparability of these statistics across jurisdictions.
14. The main objective of the NCRS is to provide clear guidance to police agencies on the criteria to be considered when making a judgement as to what should be recorded on police recording systems in order to meet national crime statistical requirements.
Differences in rule interpretation
17. While the application of rules and requirements of the NCRS was designed to enable the recording of crime in a comparable manner across all jurisdictions, there is some variability in the interpretation of the rules. In particular the Rule 2 which guides what is recorded on police systems when an incident is reported to police. According to the NCRS Police officers are required to take a report at 'face value' and record an incident on their crime recording system. An investigation will then follow to determine whether a crime has been committed at law.
18. As a consequence of the lack of data comparability for assault and as part of an ongoing commitment to ensuring national data comparability, it has been determined that assault data will only be published for those jurisdictions complying with the NCRS.
19. In relation to reporting of incidents of assault there are differences in interpretation and implementation of this rule across states and territories. New South Wales, South Australia, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia have interpreted and implemented the rule as required, and will be available. Published assault data is suitable for cross-jurisdictional comparisons.
21. National data for assault are not available in the Recorded Crime – Victims publication; it is recommended that the ABS National Crime Victimisation Survey be used to make national cross-jurisdiction comparisons. For further information see paragraphs 85-86.
BREAK IN SERIES
§ Threats to commit an offence (An exception to this exclusion is assault where there is an apprehension that the direct threat of force, injury, or violence could be enacted, which is in-scope of the collection. This also applies to offences like robbery, kidnapping/abduction and blackmail/extortion where an element of threat is implicit in the nature of the crime);
§ Aid, abet and accessory offences; and
§ Deprivation of liberty offences.
26. Where an outcome of investigation determines ‘no crime’ was committed i.e. the offence was reported to police but later deemed to be unfounded, false, or baseless; counts are excluded from the data. For further information see paragraphs 52-53.
29. The data presented in this publication has been confidentialised to prevent identification of victims. Table cells containing small values have been randomly adjusted to avoid releasing confidential information. Due to this randomisation process, totals may vary slightly across tables. These adjustments do not impair the value of the tables as a whole.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victimisation rates
35. Victimisation rates for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people are calculated using recast estimates (for the period 1996 to 2011) and projections (2012 to 2026) of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population based on data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, and rely upon assumptions about future fertility, paternity, life expectancy at birth and migration.
36. The data supersede previously published ABS estimates and projections and, as a result, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victimisation rates previously published in Recorded Crime – Victims, Australia for the years 2010-2012 were revised accordingly in 2013.
37. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander projections used are based on Series B (refer to Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001 to 2026 (cat. no. 3238.0) for more information).
38. If Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victim counts remained constant, an expected result of the change to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates and projections would be a decrease in the victimisation rate. This is due to the assumptions used by Series B resulting in higher population estimates and projections than those previously used.
39. Rates for the non-Indigenous population are calculated using the ERP for the total population of the state or territory minus the projected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population for the relevant jurisdiction.
§ is a victim of multiple offences that fall within the same ANZSOC division, the victim is counted once, and the lowest ANZSOC code recorded within that division is recorded as the offence.
§ is a victim of the same offence multiple times on the same day, the victim is counted once.
§ is a victim of multiple offences that fall in different ANZSOC divisions, the victim is counted once in each of the different divisions, meaning one victim can be presented multiple times under different offence divisions.
45. Other examples of how different victim scenarios are counted are explained below:
§ If a victim is assaulted by several offenders or a victim is repeatedly assaulted by the same offender, but reports the victimisation to police on the one day, the victim would be counted once for assault.
§ If the same victim is repeatedly abused over a period of time (i.e. long term abuse) and reports all instances of abuse to police at a single point in time, then the victim would be counted only once. On the other hand, where the victim reports these incidents to police at different times, then a count is made for each separate report.
§ If a bank with several customers present is robbed, one robbery is counted, with the victim being the bank. If personal property is also taken from two customers, there would be three victims; the bank and the two customers.
§ One victim is counted for each motor vehicle stolen. For example, if five cars are stolen from a car yard, this is counted as five motor vehicle thefts.
§ One victim is counted for each place/premises victimised, which can consist of either a single structure (e.g. house), part of a single structure (e.g. flat), or multiple structures (e.g. farmstead with house, barns and sheds). The same property containing the same structure(s) can be counted differently depending on the occupancy arrangements at the time.
§ For multiple structures on the same property with the same occupant(s), one victim is counted regardless of the number of separate structures unlawfully entered with intent. This would apply to a house with attached or unattached garage and a backyard shed located on the one property; and warehouses occupied by a sole organisation located on the same property.
§ For multiple structures on the same property, but occupied by more than one household or organisation, one victim is counted for each separate household or organisation. Where a business premises has an attached residence that is occupied by the same person(s), the registered business is considered to be a separate victim.
§ In the case of UEWI to individual areas in a building that is rented, leased or occupied separately, one victim is counted for each separate tenant/owner. For example, in a block of 10 flats leased by 10 different tenants where three flats are unlawfully entered, there would be a count of three UEWIs. If unlawful entry to the building itself is recorded, an additional offence of UEWI to that building is counted. This instance would apply to apartments in one building, offices of several commercial firms in one business building, shops in a shopping complex, hotel rooms and lodging houses.
47. The definition of victim varies between offence types, see Glossary for further information.
Outcome of Investigation
52. Where police have determined after an investigation that 'no crime' has occurred at 30, 90 or 180 days since the initial report to police, counts are excluded from the data. However, only data regarding outcome at 30 days are published.
53. The Northern Territory is unable to code their outcome of investigation data in line with the requirements of the national outcome code 'no crime'. As a result, Northern Territory data may include victim counts for those situations where police have determined after investigation that 'no crime' has occurred.
Relationship of offender to victim
54. The relationship of offender to victim is defined as the relationship of the alleged offender to the victim, as perceived by the victim at the time of the offence, not when further investigation has occurred or when an offender is apprehended at a later date.
55. Relationship of offender to victim data is not available for Western Australia as it is not captured on the same basis as other states and territories (i.e. at the time the offence is recorded).
§ New South Wales is unable to provide relationship data for robbery offences.
§ Victoria records the relationship of the victim to offender rather than the offender to the victim, and data is subsequently re-coded to meet the requirements of the Recorded Crime – Victims relationship classification.
§ Several jurisdictions are unable to provide relationship data for other theft and blackmail/extortion offences, as they are unable to determine whether the victim is a person or an organisation. As a result, these offences have been excluded from some tables.
- For the Northern Territory, some boyfriends and girlfriends may be included in 'Other non-family member n.e.c.' or in 'Partner'.
- New South Wales codes ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends to 'Boyfriend/girlfriend'.
- For the Northern Territory, ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends are coded to ‘Ex-partner’.
STATE/TERRITORY EVENTS AND SPECIFIC ISSUES
64. Victoria may record an offence (where the facts indicate that a crime has been committed) if the victim does not wish to proceed, depending on the severity of that offence.
65. Property taken in association with UEWI may not always be identified due to limitations in recording options in the Victoria Police Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) computer system. Therefore, caution should be used when assessing the sub components of UEWI. The total counts for UEWI are correct, however further disaggregation results in an undercount for 'UEWI - involving the taking of property' and an over count of 'UEWI - other'.
67. Where an incident is reported to police, it is not taken on face value and recorded on the Queensland Police Records and Information Management Exchange (QPRIME). The Criminal Code Act deals with all criminal assaults, where a domestic violence incident occurs which involves an alleged assault and the victim does not consent to proceeding with an assault charge, the assault matter is not recorded on QPRIME. In a number of other jurisdictions where family and domestic violence incidents are recorded the incident would be included in the police recorded crime data even if the victim does not want to proceed with the assault. The impact of this is that assault statistics produced are lower than those reported in the Crime Victimisation Survey. As a result of the comparability issues arising from this difference in the interpretation and implementation of the NCRS a decision has been made not to make available assault data for Queensland.
68. South Australia does not record an assault for an unknown victim but may record another offence such as theft (when evidence suggests an assault or another offence has taken place) if they cannot locate a victim or their representative.
69. South Australia records all family and domestic violence related assaults even if the victim does not want to proceed.
72. It is a legal requirement in Western Australia for doctors, nurses, midwives, teachers and police officers to report all reasonable beliefs of child sexual abuse to the Department for Child Protection.
73. Western Australia does not record an assault or any other offence (when evidence suggests an assault has taken place) if they cannot locate a victim or their representative and when the evidence suggests that the assault is minor.
75. The legal age of consent (that is, when it is legal for young people to consent to sex) for South Australia and Tasmania is 17 years of age. The legal age of consent in all other states and territories is 16 years.
76. For incidents of assault, Tasmania’s data are not directly comparable with those jurisdictions whose data have been included.
77. Assault in the Northern Territory is clearly defined under sections 187-188 of the NT Criminal Code Act and therefore does not rely on common law definitions.
78. If after a report of an assault, further investigation reveals insufficient evidence, but in the judgement of a police officer a crime did take place, a record of an assault will still be made on the Northern Territory Police administrative recording system (PROMIS) with an outcome code of 'insufficient evidence'.
Australian Capital Territory
80. Motor vehicles that are stolen in the Australian Capital Territory, but recovered in another state/territory are recorded on the Australian Capital Territory operational IT systems and included in the counts.
COMPARISONS TO OTHER ABS DATA
§ Data cannot be directly linked;
§ Counting units vary as the concept of a principal offence is not applied in the Victims collection. Victims may be counted more than once if multiple offences reside in different ANZSOC divisions;
§ The reference period used in the Victims collection is based on the calendar year, while the Offenders collection is based on the financial year;
§ Police may detect a crime without it being reported by a victim. Additionally, ‘victimless’ crimes, such as Illicit drug offences or Regulatory offences are excluded from the Victims collection; and
§ Statistics about victims of Assault are not comparable across all states and territories. As a consequence, national data are not published.
84. Despite these differences, broad comparisons can be made between the two collections. For more information refer to Recorded Crime – Offenders, Australia (cat. No. 4519.0).
85. Another key source of data about people's experience of crime is the annual ABS Crime Victimisation Survey, which is a complementary source to the Recorded Crime - Victims collection. This survey collects information about experiences of crime, the extent to which incidents of crime were subsequently reported to police and perceptions of neighbourhood problems and feelings of safety for a broad selected set of offences (see Crime Victimisation, Australia (cat. no. 4530.0)).
86. The Crime Victimisation Survey replaced the previous Crime and Safety Survey (cat. no. 4509.0) that was last conducted in 2005. Due to differences in recording across states and territories, it is recommended that the survey data be used as the source to compare assault data across jurisdictions, rather than data presented in this publication.
Personal Safety Survey, Australia
87. A further source of crime victimisation data that measures people's experience of violence, harassment and stalking is the ABS Personal Safety Survey, last run in 2012. This survey provides detailed information collected from individuals about their experiences of threats/attempts or actual physical assault or sexual assault; the type of perpetrator; experience of harassment and stalking; reporting of incidents to police; feelings of safety; and includes a range of characteristics about some of these incidents of violence (see Personal Safety Survey, Australia (cat. no. 4906.0)).
COMPARISONS TO NON-ABS SOURCES
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