4500.0 - Crime and Justice News, 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/07/2007   
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CRIME AND SAFETY, AUSTRALIA, 2005 (cat. no. 4509.0)

The publication Crime and Safety, Australia 2005 (cat. no. 4509.0), was released on 26 April 2006. This publication reports on selected types of household and personal crimes, using information collected from people about their experiences of crime in the 12 months prior to the April survey.

The proportion of households that had experienced either a break-in, attempted break-in or motor vehicle theft in the previous 12 months had fallen to 6%, down from 9% for the corresponding period in 2002. An estimated 259,800 households were victims of at least one break-in during the 2005 reference period, down 27% from 354,500 in 2002. Similarly, 44% fewer households were victims of motor vehicle theft in 2005 than in 2002, with 74,800 households having had at least one vehicle stolen compared to 134,300 in 2002.

Rates of household crime victimisation varied across states and territories. Victoria and Tasmania shared the lowest level of victimisation, with 5% of households experiencing at least one break-in, attempted break-in or motor vehicle theft. Northern Territory had the highest level of victimisation at 13%.

An estimated 5% of people were victims of personal crime, with most of these victimisations being assault.

Graph: Crime Victimisation Rates

Over two and a half million (2,613,400) incidents of assault were experienced by 770,600 victims, with over half of the victims reporting having been assaulted more than once in the 12 month period. The most common location for assaults to occur was at the victim's home (31% of assault victims), followed by their place of work or study (26%). An estimated 63% of victims knew one or more of the offenders in their most recent assault.

The survey also showed that some types of crime were more likely to be reported to police than others. Motor vehicle theft (90%) was the most likely crime to be reported to police, with attempted break and enter and assault (both 31%) the least likely.

Further data from the Crime and Safety Survey are available through the ABS Information Consultancy Service, which can provide a wide range of data tailored to meet individual needs. This service is available to the whole community on a fee for service basis

Further data are also available through a Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) via the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL). CURF microdata are the most detailed statistical information that the ABS can make available, allowing users to undertake complex analysis of confidentialised survey data. For further detail on the Information Consultancy Service or the CURF, see the ABS website <https://www.abs.gov.au>.

PERSONAL SAFETY SURVEY (cat. no. 4906.0)

Results of the Personal Safety Survey, the first national survey to present information about women's and men's experiences of violence, were released in August 2006. It expands on the 1996 Women's Safety Survey by broadening the scope of the survey to include men, and enables analysis of the relative changes in women's personal safety over time, based on the comprehensive national benchmark provided by the Women's Safety Survey. Personal Safety, Australia (cat. no. 4906.0) presents information about men's and women's experiences of physical or sexual assault or threat by male and female perpetrators.

Over the 10 years since the women's safety survey was conducted, women's reported feelings of safety in selected situations have improved. In 2005, 15% (1,165,400) of women felt safe using public transport alone after dark, compared to 11% (721,600) in 1996. Of those who did not use public transport alone after dark in 2005, 25% (1,477,000) did not use it because they felt unsafe, compared to 30% (1,737,500) in 1996.

There were distinct differences in the feelings of safety for men and women. In 2005, more than 19% (1,477) of women did not use public transport alone after dark because they felt unsafe, compared to only 5% (333) of men. Similarly, only 29% (2,257) of women felt safe walking in their local area after dark, compared to 61% (4,581) of men. Of women who were at home alone in the evening or night, 13% (1,029) reported feeling unsafe, compared to 4% of men in the same situation.

Both men and women were more likely to have been victims of physical than sexual violence in the 12 months prior to the survey. Approximately 5% (363,000) of women had experienced physical violence, compared to 2% (126,100) that had been victims of sexual violence. In contrast, 10% (779,800) of men had been victims of physical violence, whilst less than 1% (46,700) had experienced sexual violence.

Overall, men and women had different experiences of physical assault in the 12 months prior to the survey. Of those women who were physically assaulted, 15% (35,500) were physically assaulted by a male stranger, whereas 65% (316,700) of men were physically assaulted by a male stranger. Assaults by a current and/or previous partner accounted for 31% (73,800) of females' physical assaults, and 4% (21,200) of males' physical assaults.

Of women who were physically assaulted, 27% (65,800) were aged 18-24 years, whilst the comparison for men was 43% (207,100). Conversely, across all other age groups, a higher proportion of women were physically assaulted compared to men.
Graph: Experience of Physical Assault, During the last 12 months
The location of assaults in the 12 months prior to the survey varied between men and women. Of women who experienced physical assault by a male perpetrator, 64% (125,100) of incidents occurred in a home. In contrast, of the men who experienced physical assault by a male perpetrator, 35% (148,900) of incidents occurred in the open, and 34% (145,300) at a licensed premises.

People who experienced violence from their current partner were more likely to experience physical, rather than sexual, violence. Since the age of 15, 2% (160,100) of women and 1% (68,100) of men had experienced current partner violence. Of those women that had experienced current partner violence, 10% (16,100) had a violence order issued against their current partner as a result of the violence.

Additional products are available to complement Personal Safety, Australia. These include the:
  • User Guide, a reference for understanding the PSS. It contains information about the background, design and content of the survey, the sample and estimation, collection and processing, and issues relating to quality. A complete list of output data items and associated material is also included;
  • State Tables, a selection of tables of data for New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia in spreadsheet format that are available for download;
  • Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF), available through the RADL; and
  • ABS Information Consultancies, available on a fee for service basis.


The 2006 Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia (cat. no. 4510.0) was released on 6 June 2007. This publication presents statistics on incidents of victimisation for a selected range of offences that came to the attention of police and were recorded by them for the period 1 January to 31 December 2006. Experimental statistics on the Indigenous status of victims are also presented for three states and territories.

Compared to 2005, the personal offence category recording the largest decline was attempted murder (down 11% to 1.2 victims per 100,000 people). Conversely, there were increases in the number of victims of blackmail/extortion (up 10% to 2.1 victims per 100,000 people) and murder (up by 8% to 1.4 victims per 100,000 people).

Graph: Victims, Selected Offences, Percentage change in number - 2005 to 2006

Note: for robbery and blackmail/extortion, a victim can be a person or an organisation
Selected household crimes continued a declining trend in victimisation; motor vehicle theft (365 victims per 100,000 population) had the lowest rate since national reporting began in 1993. The victimisation rate for other theft was the lowest rate since national reporting began for that offence in 1995 (2,512 victims per 100,000 population).

In 2006, more males than females were victims of attempted murder (78% of victims were male), murder (66%), robbery (74%) and blackmail/extortion (66%). For kidnapping/abduction, more females were victims than males (62%). Over 40% of victims of murder (119 people) and 52% of attempted murder victims (124 people) were aged 25-44 years. A further 29% (81 people) of murder victims were aged 45 years and over.

Over half (61%) of the murders occurred in a residential dwelling, and nearly half (45%) of the robberies occurred on a street or footpath. Half of the victims (50%) of kidnapping/abduction were taken from a community location, and a further 35% taken were from a residential location. Retail locations accounted for the highest proportion (30%) of other theft.

In 2006, a weapon was used in 74% of attempted murders, 63% of murders and 44% of robberies. Over one third (34%) of murder victims, 35% of attempted murder victims, 22% of the victims of robbery and 10% of kidnapping/abduction victims were subjected to an offence involving a knife. A firearm was involved in a quarter of the offences (25%) of attempted murder, 17% of murder and 7% of robbery offences.

CRIMINAL COURTS AUSTRALIA, 2005-06 (cat. no. 4513.0)

Criminal Courts, Australia, 2005-06 (cat. no. 4513) was released by the ABS on 28 March 2007. This publication presents nationally comparable statistics relating to the criminal jurisdiction of the Higher (Supreme and Intermediate) and Magistrates' Courts across Australia for the period 1 July 2005-30 June 2006. Children's Criminal Courts data are also provided on an experimental basis. The statistics describe the characteristics of defendants, including information on the offences and sentences associated with those defendants.

In 2005-06, there were 586,202 defendants finalised in the Higher and Magistrates' Courts in Australia, an increase of 2% (10,774) on the number of defendants finalised in 2004-05. Of defendants finalised in 2005-06, 3% (16,319) were finalised in the Higher Courts and 97% (569,883) were finalised in the Magistrates' Courts.

Almost four in five (77%) defendants adjudicated were male, with over three in five (62%) defendants adjudicated aged less than 35 years.

Defendants were more likely to be adjudicated in the Higher Courts for offences of acts intended to cause injury (22% of defendants adjudicated) and illicit drug offences (17% of defendants adjudicated). Defendants were more likely to be adjudicated in the Magistrates' Courts for road traffic and motor vehicle regulatory offences (44% of those adjudicated) and public order offences (10% of those adjudicated).

Graph: Defendants Adjudicated, Magistrates' Courts, Selected principal offences by sex

Most defendants (501,298 or 95%) were proven guilty (guilty plea or declared guilty). Defendants proven guilty in the Higher Courts were more likely to have received a custodial sentence in a correctional institution or the community than those found guilty in the Magistrates' Court (56% and 5% respectively).


The March quarter 2007 issue of Corrective Services, Australia (cat. no. 4512.0) was released on 21 June 2007. This publication presents time series information on persons in custody and community-based corrections. Details are provided by state/territory on prisoner counts by type of custody, legal status and Indigenous status.

For the March quarter 2007, there were 77,481 persons under the authority of corrective services (excluding those in periodic detention). The average number of prisoners in full-time custody on the first day of the three months in the March quarter 2007 was 25,801, an increase of 6% from the March quarter 2006. Of these, the average number of unsentenced prisoners was 5,971 (23%).

In the March quarter 2007, there were 51,680 persons in community-based corrections. These are non-custodial orders under the authority of corrective services and include restricted movement, fine option, community service, parole, bail and sentenced probation. This sees a decrease of less than 1% (138 persons) from the December quarter 2006 and a decrease of 1% (692 persons) from the March quarter 2006.

PRISONERS IN AUSTRALIA, 2006 (cat. no. 4517.0)

On 14 December 2006, the ABS released Prisoners in Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4517). This publication uses data collected through a National Prisoner Census to provide indicators on the characteristics of prisoners, sentence lengths, and offences for which offenders are imprisoned, whilst providing a basis for measuring change over time.

At 30 June 2006 there were 25,790 prisoners (sentenced and unsentenced) in Australian prisons, an increase of 2% (437 prisoners) from 30 June 2005. This represented an imprisonment rate of 163 prisoners per 100,000 adult population.

Of these prisoners, 22% (5,581) were unsentenced. Most prisoners (57%) had served a sentence in an adult prison prior to the current episode. Prisoners most commonly had an offence or charge of acts intended to cause injury, with 18% of prisoners having this as their most serious offence or charge.

Of the total prisoner population, 7% (1,827) were female and 24% (6,091) were Indigenous. The median age of all prisoners was 33 years.
Graph: Change in Prisoner Numbers Between 30 June 2005 and 30 June 2006

Half (or 10,154) of all sentenced prisoners were sentenced in the 12 months preceding 30 June 2006, and of these, 61% had a record of prior imprisonment. Prisoners sentenced in the last 12 months were most likely to have a most serious offence of acts intended to cause injury (19%), offences against justice procedures, government security and operations (16%), unlawful entry with intent (13%) or road traffic and related offences (12%).