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Data relating to people's experiences of selected personal and household crimes were collected as part of the 2015–16 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS). The MPHS is a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) and is designed to produce annual statistics on a small number of self-contained topics. The scope of the LFS is restricted to people aged 15 years and over and excludes: members of the permanent defence forces; certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments usually excluded from census and estimated resident populations; overseas residents in Australia; and members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants). Refer to Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for further information regarding the LFS. In addition, the 2015–16 MPHS scope excluded people living in non-private dwellings such as hotels, university residences, students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, inmates of prisons and residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, homes for persons with disabilities) and households in the Indigenous Community Strata (ICS).
In the Crime Victimisation Survey, respondents aged 15 years and over (or 18 years and over for questions regarding sexual assault) were asked questions about their experiences of selected personal crimes (physical assault, threatened assault, robbery and sexual assault) and selected household crimes (break-ins, attempted break-ins, motor vehicle theft, theft from a motor vehicle, malicious property damage and other theft). Information was collected from one person selected at random in each selected household.
The Crime Victimisation Survey is conducted annually as part of the MPHS, with the first survey of the series conducted in 2008–09. As the survey reference period was the 12 months prior to the survey interview during 2015–16, the data relate to experiences occurring at some time between July 2014 and June 2016. Generally, data from the Crime Victimisation Survey are released approximately 7–8 months after final enumeration, with data from MPHS topics progressively released from approximately 6 months after the end of enumeration.
The Crime Victimisation Survey 2015–16 comprised a sample of 28,276 fully responding households, which represented a response rate of 75%.
Two types of error can impact on the accuracy of an estimate based on a sample survey: non-sampling error and sampling error. Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort is made to minimise non-sampling error through carefully designed questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers, and rigorous data processing procedures. Non-sampling error also arises because information cannot be obtained from all persons selected in the survey.
Sampling error occurs because a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed. One measure of the likely difference resulting from not including all dwellings in the survey is given by the standard error (SE). There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one SE from the figure that would have been obtained if all dwellings had been included in the survey, and about 19 chances in 20 the difference will be less than two SEs. Measures of the relative standard errors (RSE) of the estimates for this survey are included with this release.
The ABS conducted National Crime and Safety Surveys in 1975, 1983, 1993, 1998, 2002 and 2005. In 2006–07, a review of these crime surveys found the need for more timely and regular crime victimisation headline indicators (on an annual basis), and the need for flexibility to cater for new and emerging areas of crime.
In 2008–09, a redesigned ABS Crime Victimisation Survey was introduced (via the MPHS) which collected information about people's experiences of selected personal and household crimes, and has been conducted annually since. Differences in survey methodology and enumeration periods, as well as changes to the survey content, means that data from the Crime Victimisation Survey series (which commenced in 2008–09) are not comparable with earlier ABS Crime and Safety surveys. These differences mean that comparisons across reference periods are only possible for the period 2008–09 and beyond.
In addition to the core crime victimisation topics, some editions of the survey have included an additional rotating module. These modules have covered a range of topics, including feelings of safety (2008–09), perceptions of social disorder (2009–10 and 2010–11), personal fraud, (2010–11 and 2014–15) and perceptions of the justice system (2011–12).
From the 2010–11 Crime Victimisation Survey onwards, respondents who were personally interviewed and who had experienced physical assault or face-to-face threatened assault were asked whether they believed alcohol or any other substance contributed to their most recent experience of these offences(see Data Collection section of the Explanatory Notes for more information).
The terms used to describe the various types of offences in this publication are based on behavioural definitions used in the survey, and may not necessarily correspond with legal or police definitions.
To aid in the interpretation of the crime victimisation data, detailed information on concepts, definitions, terminology and other technical aspects of the survey can be found in the relevant web pages included with this release. This includes the Explanatory Notes, Glossary, Abbreviations, and Technical Note.
All tables containing estimates and associated RSEs are available in Excel spreadsheets and can be accessed from the Downloads tab. For the 2015–16 release, any RSEs greater than 50% have been suppressed, while the estimate has been released.
Additional data may also be available on request through an ABS customised data consultancy. The Downloads tab includes an Excel spreadsheet containing a complete list of the data items available.
For further information about these or related statistics, contact ABS National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.