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5 The scope excludes the following:
6 Due to quality and/or comparability issues, or an inability to supply data to the ABS, the statistics presented in this publication exclude the following:
7 The statistics in this collection relate to offenders proceeded against by police during the reference period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016. Additionally, selected statistics are available for the 2008–09 to 2014–15 reference periods.
8 The main counting unit for this collection is the "offender", represented in the statistics in data cubes 1 to 4. Data cube 5 uses "police proceedings" as the counting unit. The experimental statistics in data cube 6 use both offenders and police proceedings as counting units (refer to note 41).
Date of action
9 Data are compiled on the basis of the date that police initiated action, or proceeded against, an offender (e.g. the date the offender was charged, the date the offender was cautioned, etc.). The date the offender was proceeded against by police may not be the date when the offence occurred, or the date when the offender came to the attention of police. In some jurisdictions the data may reflect the date of record creation rather than date of action; however, this does not have a significant impact on the comparability of data across jurisdictions for offenders as there are no major lags between the two dates.
10 For the offender population, an offender is only counted once irrespective of how many offences they may have committed within the same incident or how many times they were dealt with by police during the reference period.
Police proceeding counts
11 For the police proceeding population, an offender may be counted more than once if proceeded against on separate occasions by police during the reference period. Data are presented for both court and non-court proceedings.
12 Offence information presented in this publication relates to the principal offence allegedly committed by an individual offender during the reference period. These statistics are not designed to provide a count of the total number of individual offences that come to the attention of police.
13 For the offender counts, where a single offence is processed by police during the reference period, the offender is assigned that offence as their principal offence. Where multiple offences are committed by an offender, they are assigned a principal offence using the ABS National Offence Index (NOI). For more information about the NOI refer to note 48.
14 For the police proceeding counts, offenders who are proceeded against more than once in the reference period are assigned a principal offence for each separate date of police action. The following diagram provides an illustration of the assigning of a principal offence and the resulting counts for both populations.
Principal method of proceeding
15 As a person may be proceeded against for multiple offences, either on a single date or on different occasions, the various offences linked to that offender may result in different legal actions; for example, both court and non-court actions. For offender counts, the principal method of proceeding will be the method of proceeding associated with the principal offence assigned to that offender. For police proceeding counts, as offenders who are proceeded against more than once in the reference period are assigned a principal offence for each separate date of police action, they are also assigned the appropriate method linked to each principal offence.
16 Offender rates are expressed as the number of offenders per 100,000 of the ABS Estimated Resident Population (ERP). This method derives what are sometimes referred to as "crude rates". These rates generally accord with international and state and territory practice, and enable the comparison of the extent and type of offending across the individual states and territories, as well as a comparison over time.
17 Rates for the offender population are calculated using the ERP as at the midpoint of the reference period (e.g. 31 December 2015 for the 2015–16 reference period). The ERP used in the calculation of these rates is for persons aged 10 years and over for all states and territories. Where rates are presented for a sex or age group, the ERP used in the calculation of the rates refers to the relevant sex or age group.
18 ERP estimates and projections applied for the Australian Capital Territory exclude Jervis Bay Territory. All estimates and projections for Australia exclude the external territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
19 For more information on the ERP, see Australian Demographic Statistics, June quarter, 2016 (cat. no. 3101.0).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offender rates
20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offender rates are expressed per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population aged 10 years and over. This method derives what are sometimes referred to as "crude rates". The offender rates presented in this issue are derived from the estimated population for the years 2009 to 2011, as well as the Series B projections of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, from the ABS publication Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001 to 2026 (cat. no. 3238.0).
Series B is one of three main projection series (Series A, B and C) that have been published for the years 2011 to 2026. Series B assumes an annual decline of 0.5% in fertility rates; an annual increase of 1% in paternity rates; constant interstate migration at levels observed in the 2011 Census; and zero net overseas migration with no arrivals and no departures. It also assumes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy at birth will increase by 0.3 years per year for males and 0.25 years per year for females, reaching 73.5 years for males and 77.4 years for females by 2026.
21 These population estimates and projections are as at 30 June at the end of the reference period. A linear interpolation method was used to estimate the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population at the midpoint of each reference period (31 December) to align with the ERP used in calculating rates for the total population. The method derived an estimate at December 31 by calculating the average of the population estimates at 30 June of that year and the following year. The interpolated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates were then used to derive offender rates for each year.
22 Rates for the non-Indigenous population are calculated using the total ERP of persons aged 10 years and over for each state or territory minus the projected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population aged 10 years and over.
Age standardisation of offender rates
23 Age standardisation is a statistical method that adjusts crude rates to account for age differences between study populations.
There are differences in the age distributions between Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous populations, with the former having a much younger population. In 2001, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 18 years and over was 55%, compared with 76% of non-Indigenous people (and 75% of the total Australian population). The diagram below illustrates the differences in age distributions.
24 ESTIMATED RESIDENT POPULATION, AUSTRALIA – 30 JUNE 2001
25 Due to the differing age profiles, using crude rates to examine differences between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous populations may lead to erroneous conclusions being drawn about variables that are correlated with age.
By making comparisons across age groups, we know that offender rates are negatively correlated with age. If we compare overall offender rates between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous persons, it is likely that the offender rate in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population will be higher because of the larger proportion of young people in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Therefore, age standardised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous offender rates have been presented in Table 23 of this publication.
26 The standard population used for age standardisation is the total Australian Estimated Resident Population at 30 June 2001. The standard population is revised every twenty five years; the next revision will be based on final data from the 2026 Census of Population and Housing.
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER OFFENDERS
27 This publication only presents data about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. Based on ABS assessment, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders data for other jurisdictions are not of sufficient quality and/or do not meet ABS standards for self-identification for national reporting in 2015–16.
28 Data about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders for the Australian Capital Territory are included in this publication for the 2013–14 reference period onwards. In some instances, Indigenous Status is obtained by ACT Police without giving the offender the opportunity to self-identify. However, consultation with ACT Police showed that the proportion of records not obtained via self-identification was low, and the impact on the data was minimal.
29 As Indigenous Status is based on self-identification by the offender, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification is difficult where police proceed by way of a penalty notice as this method does not usually provide an opportunity for police to ask individuals to self-identify. The proportion of all offenders proceeded against by police by way of a penalty notice during 2015–16 was:
Given the high levels of 'not stated' Indigenous Status for offenders proceeded against by a penalty notice, Indigenous Status data in this publication exclude penalty notices. Therefore, offender counts and rates presented in this publication do not include all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders proceeded against by police
The use of penalty notices by police is most prevalent for Public order offences, Illicit drug offences, Offences against justice and Miscellaneous offences. The removal of those offenders who were proceeded against via a penalty notice results in reduced offender counts and rates for these four offence divisions in particular.
30 The proportion of offenders with a 'not stated' Indigenous Status varies by offence type.
31 Indigenous Status data are not received for offenders issued with drug diversions in South Australia. This is the reason for the high proportion of offenders with an unknown Indigenous Status for Illicit drug offences in South Australia.
EXPERIMENTAL FAMILY AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE STATISTICS
32 This release provides experimental data about offenders of selected Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) related offences, as recorded on selected state and territory police administrative recording systems. These data should be interpreted with caution, taking into account the factors described throughout these explanatory notes.
33 This publication only presents data about offenders of FDV-related offences for New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. National data about offenders of FDV-related offences are not available for the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection as South Australia and Tasmania are unable to provide an FDV flag due to system constraints. Based on ABS assessment, Queensland FDV-related offence data have been excluded from this publication due to quality and comparability concerns. Police procedures surrounding the use of the FDV flag in Queensland differed considerably from those in other jurisdictions, which resulted in a substantial undercount of offenders with FDV-related offences.
34 Experimental data about offenders of selected FDV-related offences for the 2014–15 reference period have been revised within this publication for all selected states and territories. Users are advised against making comparisons with previous issues of the publication, as data are not directly comparable.
35 Within the context of national Recorded Crime – Offenders statistics, an FDV-related offence is defined as:
"An offence involving at least two persons who are in a specified family or domestic relationship and which has been determined by police officers to be family and/or domestic violence related as part of their investigation."
A specified family or domestic relationship includes:
36 For the purposes of this publication FDV-related offences are limited to the following ANZSOC Divisions/Sub-division offence types:
Family and Domestic Violence Flag
37 Data presented within this release are based on an FDV flag as recorded by police officers where they have determined an offence or incident to be FDV-related as defined by the relevant state or territory legislation under which they operate.
38 The comparability of data about offenders of FDV-related offences varies across the selected states and territories due to a number of factors including:
39 Users should be aware that movements in data about Offenders of FDV-related offences across reference periods may be impacted by changes in reporting behaviour or variances in police operational procedures across the selected jurisdictions.
40 The FDV flag is recorded in the New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Northern Territory Police systems at a proceeding level. This may result in a small number of offences in these jurisdictions being flagged as FDV-related which did not occur within an FDV relationship as specified in note 34. For example, this may occur when police charge an offender with an FDV-related offence as well as an additional offence which occurred against a stranger in the same incident and was dealt with by police as part of the same proceeding.
For the purposes of this publication, offences which were flagged by police to be FDV-related but occurred against a police officer or stranger were removed where they were able to be identified.
In the Australian Capital Territory the FDV flag is recorded on police systems at an offence level. This means that the flag is applied separately to each individual offence. Therefore only offences which occurred within a specified family or domestic relationship are flagged by police as FDV-related.
41 This publication presents a count of persons who were proceeded against by police for at least one selected offence which was flagged as FDV-related by police during the reference period. Data were compiled based on the date police initiated action, or proceeded against the offender, which may not necessarily reflect the date the alleged offence was committed.
Where an offender was proceeded against for multiple FDV-related offences during the reference period, they were assigned a principal FDV-related offence which has been determined based on the National Offence Index, 2009 (cat.no 1234.0.55.001). Any non FDV-related offences were excluded prior to the ranking process. Therefore, users should be aware that the statistics presented in data cube 6 are not comparable with other data presented within this publication.
Comment and Further Information
42 Users should note that the FDV data contained in this publication are considered to be experimental, and are subject to further evaluation. The ABS is interested in feedback from users of these statistics on any aspect of the release. Please send written feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org
43 The national classifications used to collect and produce data about offenders are:
Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC), 2011
44 ANZSOC provides a uniform national framework for classifying offences across Australia and New Zealand for statistical purposes. The classification is a hierarchical structure allowing for varying degrees of detail to be published depending on the level of detail in the source information. Associated with the classification are coding rules which ensure that the counting of information is consistent across states and territories.
45 An offence classification was first developed in this format in 1997 called the Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC). A second edition of the ASOC was released in 2008 which contained updates to improve coverage to cater for offences of emerging importance; increase relevance and usability; and maintain comparability and continuity. In 2011, the offence classification was updated from the Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC) to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC); however changes were not made to the content of the classification. For further information about ANZSOC refer to Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification, 2011 (cat. no. 1234.0).
46 The offence information presented in this issue for the reference periods 2008–09 to 2015–16 is based on the 2011 version of ANZSOC. Data presented in the 2007–08 issue of this publication are based on ASOC 1997 and are not comparable.
47 For ease of reading, some ANZSOC offence categories have been abbreviated throughout this publication as follows:
National Offence Index (NOI), 2009
48 The NOI (published in National Offence Index, 2009 (cat. no. 1234.0.55.001)) is a tool which provides an ordinal ranking of offence categories in ANZSOC according to perceived seriousness in order to determine a principal offence. The purpose of the NOI is to enable the representation of an offender by a single offence in instances where multiple offences occur within the same incident or where offenders are proceeded against by police on more than one occasion in the reference period. Refer to the Appendix for a copy of the NOI.
Method of Proceeding Classification
49 The method of proceeding describes the type of legal action (court or non-court) initiated by police against a person as a result of an investigation of an offence(s). The type of legal action may change as further investigation is undertaken by police. Not all changes made during the reference period may be reflected in this collection. The method of proceeding classification is a hierarchical classification. For details of the classification hierarchy refer to the Appendix. For information about the counting methodology used for methods of proceeding refer to note 15.
50 National offender statistics are compiled in order to maximise comparability across states and territories. This collection has been designed to facilitate comparisons of states and territories through the application of common national statistical standards and counting rules. However, some legislative and processing differences remain. The following information highlights those processes unique to a jurisdiction that may have had an impact on the data for this collection. This may include differences in recording practices, legislation or policy to combat particular types of crime.
New South Wales
51 New South Wales legislation does not contain discrete offences of stalking, intimidation and harassment. As these offences cannot be disaggregated, offenders proceeded against for stalking, intimidation and harassment have been coded to ANZSOC offence group 0291 Stalking. Therefore, this group may be overstated and ANZSOC Division 05 Abduction, harassment and other offences against the person may be understated. Caution should be used when making comparisons with other states and territories.
52 An increase in records with an Indigenous Status of ‘unknown’ in 2014–15 was published last cycle. This increase was mainly due to changes to the flow of personal details from the custody system to the main crime recording system used by the NSW Police Force. The increase in unknowns contributed to decreases in both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous offender populations in tables where Indigenous Status data were presented. This issue has been rectified in this edition and revised data are presented for 2014–15. Users are advised to refer to the most recent publication and data cubes for New South Wales Recorded Crime – Offenders statistics.
53 From 1 May 2012 the NSW Police Force took over the role of policing the state's public transport network, through a dedicated Police Transport Command of 610 officers. This led to increases from 2012–13 in the number of offenders and proceedings in some ANZSOC categories, including Theft (due to fare evasion), Fraud and Public order offences. These offences are most often proceeded against by way of a penalty notice. An additional category of 'Fare evasion' has been presented in tables containing detailed offence data to assist comparison of Theft across jurisdictions, for the 2013–14 reference periods onwards.
Please see the explanatory notes for Victoria, Queensland and South Australia for further information on fare evasion treatment in those jurisdictions. In other jurisdictions this function is performed entirely by third party organisations, and therefore the resulting offender data in those jurisdictions are out of scope of the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection.
54 From September 2011, the offence 'continue intoxicated and disorderly' was added to the list of offences for which a penalty notice may be issued.
55 Verbal Warning and Compliance Notice were two non-court proceedings included for the first time in 2009–10. They relate mainly to licensing enforcement (i.e. liquor, security industry, firearms). The Verbal Warning is a less formal process which informs the person that some breach(es) of regulations need to be corrected. The Compliance Notice is a written warning with a stipulated time period within which the breach(es) must be corrected.
56 Caution should be exercised when interpreting data on counts of offenders and proceedings for Victoria. Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) data are recorded on a separate system and are not linked to the primary Victoria Police crime recording system. Therefore, if an offender committed an offence in addition to a PIN then that offender may have been counted twice due to data matching issues. This may result in an over count of the total number of offenders, rates and police proceedings for Victoria.
57 In Victoria infringement notices and on-the-spot fines for public transport fare evasion offences are predominantly issued by third party organisations. Offences issued by these organisations are out of scope of this collection and are not included in the data. Infringement notices and on-the-spot fines may also be issued by Victoria Police (including Protective Service Officers); these are in scope and are published in table 7 under the additional category of 'Fare evasion'. Caution should be used when interpreting these data for Victoria as only the police data are in scope for this collection.
Please see the explanatory notes for New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia for further information on fare evasion treatment in those jurisdictions. In other jurisdictions this function is performed entirely by third party organisations, and therefore the resulting offender data in those jurisdictions are out of scope of the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection.
58 Prior to 2009–10, data for most Victorian PINs were not available, as data were collected and maintained by a third party and not by Victoria Police. As a result, offender counts and rates for Victoria and Australia were underestimated. PINs data were supplied for the first time in the 2009–10 cycle for both 2008–09 and 2009–10 and have been provided for subsequent years. Caution should be used with comparing the 2009–10 and subsequent publications with previous versions.
59 For Public order offences, in comparison with other states and territories, Queensland Police make greater use of arrest, summons, cautions, and notices to appear as an action against an offender, and only limited use of penalty notices. This results in Queensland having the highest proportion of court actions of any state or territory.
60 Queensland has a relatively high number of offenders with an unknown principal offence. This is due to the Queensland Police offender system containing reported offence details which are quite broad in their description. Where this occurs it may not be possible to determine the most serious offence, resulting in the principal offence being listed as "unknown".
61 Caution should be used when comparing counts of offenders and proceedings with a principal offence of Theft for Queensland to other jurisdictions as this division includes public transport fare evasion offences proceeded against by police. These data cannot be separately identified for Queensland, and are included in the ANZSOC group 0829 Theft (except motor vehicles), nec. Note that offences proceeded against by Translink officers are out of scope of this collection.
Please see the explanatory notes for New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria for further information on fare evasion treatment in those jurisdictions. In other jurisdictions this function is performed entirely by third party organisations, and therefore the resulting offender data in those jurisdictions are out of scope of the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection.
62 The issuing of infringement notices or 'e-ticketing' by Queensland Police for public nuisance offences commenced from 8 November 2010. These offences include: public nuisance, public urination, obstruct police officer (in relation to the aforementioned public nuisance or public urination) and contravene requirement of a police officer (in relation to stating correct name and address regarding the above).
The calculation was corrected and revised age standardised rates are presented in Table 23. Users are advised to refer to the most recent publication for these data.
COMPARISONS TO OTHER ABS DATA
Recorded Crime – Victims
90 There are strong links between victims and offenders recorded by police in their administrative systems. Once a victim is recorded by police an investigation may ensue which could result, although not always, in an offender being proceeded against by police. However, there are a number of limitations in comparing the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection and the Recorded Crime – Victims collection:
Despite these differences, broad comparisons can be made between the two collections. For more detailed information about data comparability in relation to the Recorded Crime – Victims collection and more generally about using administrative and survey data, refer to the information paper, Measuring Victims of Crime: A Guide to Using Administrative and Survey Data, June 2011 (cat. no. 4500.0.55.001). For more information about the Recorded Crime – Victims collection, refer to Recorded Crime – Victims, Australia (cat. no. 4510.0).
91 Data relating to the number of court action proceedings in Recorded Crime – Offenders are not strictly comparable to the number of defendants sourced from the Criminal Courts collection. Not all court actions initiated by police will proceed to a criminal court as police proceedings may be withdrawn or changed to other legal actions during the course of an investigation. Furthermore, a defendant appearing in a criminal court in Australia may be prosecuted via charges initiated by authorities other than state and territory police. There will also be lags between when the police initiate action and when a criminal court finalises a defendant's case. In most cases the offender counts should be higher than defendant counts; however this may not be the case for all offence types due to charges laid by other authorities. For more information about criminal courts refer to Criminal Courts, Australia (cat. no. 4513.0).
92 Special tabulations may be able to be produced on request to meet individual user requirements. For further information contact the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics by email at
93 Other ABS publications which may be of interest are listed on the Related Information tab.
94 The ABS web site includes a release calendar detailing products to be released in the next six months.
95 Non-ABS sources which may be of interest include:
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