The effects of criminal activity, as well as people's perceptions about the extent of such activity, are issues that 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 involvement with the system either as offenders or as victims of crime. As well as presenting data on the characteristics of crime victims and offenders and on outcomes from the justice process, the chapter also looks at levels of non-reporting of crime. The data presented are based on national crime and justice statistics produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). These are sourced from surveys such as the ABS Crime and Safety Survey and from administrative data that provide information about crimes recorded by police, the volume and flow of work through the Criminal Courts, and about people held in correctional services agencies. 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 includes an article Likelihood of victims reporting crime to police.