4906.0.55.002 - Technical Manual: Personal Safety Survey, Expanded CURF, Australia, 2005  
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This technical manual provides information about the release of microdata from the 2005 Personal Safety Survey (PSS), including background to the survey, using the microdata, reliability of estimates and the conditions of release. With the approval of the Australian Statistician, the data is released as an expanded Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) accessible through the ABS Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL).

The RADL is an online database query system that supports access to the CURF. Microdata are held on a server at the ABS and accessed by submitting programs to interrogate and analyse data, as well as access the results. More information about accessing the CURF and using the RADL is available from the ABS website <www.abs.gov.au> (see Services/ CURF Microdata/ Accessing CURF Microdata).

Information to aid interpretation of the CURF is provided in this paper and in the documentation accompanying the CURF.


The PSS was conducted from August to December 2005 and collected information from approximately 11,900 females and 4,600 males aged 18 years and over. The survey provides information on the nature and extent of violence against men and women in Australia. It collected information about peoples' experiences of physical and sexual violence as well as incidents of abuse, stalking and harassment. Key findings from the survey are presented in Personal Safety Survey, Australia (cat. no. 4906.0), which was released in August 2006.

The women's component of the PSS was funded through the Australian Government initiatives - National Initiative to Combat Sexual Assault and Partnerships Against Domestic Violence, administered by the Office for Women (OfW). The male component was funded by the ABS.


The survey microdata are released under the provisions of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. This Act allows for the release of data in the form of unit records where the information is not likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation. Accordingly, there are no names or addresses of survey respondents on the CURF, and other steps have been taken to protect the confidentiality of respondents. These include:

  • removing some items from the CURF;
  • reducing the level of detail shown for some items; and
  • changing characteristics for some records (eg masking information by changing demographic details for a small number of records).

To further assist in protecting the confidentiality of unit record data, all income values have been perturbed. That is, each value has been adjusted up or down by a small, random amount. Also, for each of these items, each value above or below a certain cut-off limit has been set to the mean of all the values above or below the cut-off limit.

Steps to confidentialise the data available on the CURF are taken in such a way as to maximise the usefulness of the content while maintaining the confidentiality of respondents to ABS statistical collections. As a result, it may not be possible to exactly reconcile all the statistics produced from the CURF with published statistics.

Intending purchasers should ensure that the data they require, at the level of detail they require, are available on the CURF. Data collected in the survey but not contained on the CURF may be available on request in tabulated form.


For comparative purposes, the 2005 PSS has largely replicated the 1996 Women's Safety Survey (WSS). However, a small amount of content change has been incorporated to make allowances for emerging issues in personal safety. Some of the changes are:
  • the introduction of a male component;
  • the inclusion of a female perpetrators population group;
  • new data items included in PSS such as involvement of alcohol/drugs, time off work, whether incident perceived as a crime; and
  • additional data items pertaining to partner violence such as whether violence order ever taken out, and length of relationship before first incident of partner violence.

More information on the comparability of the PSS and WSS is provided in Appendix 2 of Information Paper, Personal Safety Survey, User Guide (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).