4160.0 - Measuring Wellbeing: Frameworks for Australian Social Statistics, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/10/2001   
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Data sources

Statistical measurement within the area of crime and justice also involves mapping the connections between a wide variety of organisations with differing but linked purposes, and sourcing and coordinating data from these many organisations.


The national crime and safety survey, last conducted in April 1998, presents a national picture of how crime affects the Australian community. The survey focuses on those categories of more serious crime that affect the largest number of people: household break-in, motor vehicle theft, assault (including sexual assault) and robbery. It measures the extent of crime in our community, including the number of persons and households victimised and the number of crimes reported to police. It also provides information on the socioeconomic profile of victims and non-victims, and the characteristics of offences of the most recent incident experienced by the victim. National surveys were also conducted in 1993, 1983 and 1975.


The Women's Safety Survey, conducted in February to April 1996, presents national information on women's safety at home and in the community and, in particular, on the nature and extent of violence against women in Australia. Information is presented about the prevalence of physical and sexual violence experienced by women and the nature of this violence, including: relationship to the perpetrator, where the violence occurred, and whether or not injuries were sustained. Additionalinformation is reported about the actions taken in response to occurrences of violence, women's fears of violence and incidents of stalking and other forms of harassment.


The recorded crime statistics collection is an annual administrative data collection containing national statistics on victims of crime recorded by police in Australia. Monthly data has been collected for each calendar year from 1993 to 2000 inclusive. This collection is managed by the ABS, with data supplied by each State/Territory Police Agency. The purpose of these statistics is to provide indicators of the level and nature of recorded crime in Australia and a basis for measuring change over time. Data items included in this collection are: age of victim, sex of victim, relationship of offender to victim, location where offence took place, type of weapon used in the commission of the offence, and outcome of police investigation at 30 days from date offence became known to police.


This collection contains information on the criminal workload of the Higher (Supreme and Intermediate) Courts of Australia. The Higher Courts deal with criminal cases involving serious charges, that is, those relating to indictable offences and is responsible for the trial and sentencing of persons or corporations charged with criminal offences. The data collected provide indicators of the volume and flow of defendants through the courts and provide a basis for measuring change over time. The ABS manages this collection with unit record data provided by the State and Territory agencies responsible for courts administration. The scope of the data that is publicly available includes: number of defendants initiated and finalised, detailed information on defendants finalised (including duration measures) and number of defendants pending at the beginning and end of the reference period. This collection was established in 1995 and from 1996-97 has been collected on a financial year basis.


This collection contains information on all prisoners who were in custody on 30 June of each year. The statistics are derived from information collected by the ABS from corrective services agencies in each State and Territory. Details are provided for each State and Territory, together with numbers and imprisonment rates. A range of information is also available on prisoner characteristics by type of prisoner. The ABS has managed the national prisoner census collection since 1994, based on methodology established by the Australian Institute of Criminology. These statistics were released as annual reports to the Corrective Services Minister's Council for the years 1994 to 1999 inclusive. From 2000, the statistics contained in this collection has been produced as an ABS catalogued publication.


This collection contains monthly information on persons held in corrective services custody in Australia. The statistics are derived from information collected by the ABS from administrative records held by corrective services agencies in each State and Territory. The ABS has been providing quarterly prisoner statistics since 1995, based on a methodology established by the Australian Institute of Criminology. These statistics were produced as reports to the Corrective Services Minister's Council. From June 1998 this collection was produced as an official ABS publication. Details are provided for each State and Territory, together with numbers and imprisonment rates by type of custody. Information is also available on prisoner numbers by legal status and by sentence type, for prisoners and for Indigenous prisoners, together with the number of sentenced receptions into custody and the number of federal prisoners.


This survey, conducted in 1994, covered a range of social, demographic, health and economic characteristics of the Aboriginal population. Specifically related to crime and justice, respondents were asked about their access to and use of legal services, arrests, personal safety including family violence, attitudes to and relations with police, experiences with the justice system and voting patterns.


This survey, last conducted for the 1998-99 financial year, presents information relating to legal practices and other organisations in the legal industry. Specifically related to criminal law, information is included on the number of legal firms practising criminal law, their income and the proportion of total income for each practice. In addition, information is also included for legal aid authorities and community legal centres on the number of criminal cases opened and criminal legal advice services. This survey was also conducted in respect of 1995-96, 1992-93 and 1987-88.


The Security Services Survey, conducted in respect of the 1998-99 financial year, collected information on businesses whose main activity was the provision of security, protection and private enquiry services, except for police services. Data collected includes sources of income, characteristics of employment, main activities of persons employed, business size and selected performance ratios. In addition, businesses are listed against their main security activity.


This collection contains data on deaths, including perinatal deaths, registered in Australia and is compiled from data made available to the ABS by the Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages in each State and Territory. The most recent publication of this data was in 1999, with data available from the ABS as far back as 1964. There is limited data available on deaths related to external causes (e.g. assault).


The Australian Illicit Drug Report (AIDR), most recently produced for the 1999-2000 financial year, provides an assessment of the extent and nature of the illicit drug situation in Australia, as well as a synopsis of the primary illicit drug-cultivating and drug-production countries. Statistics included in the report are compiled from data collected by the ABCI from each State, Territory and Commonwealth police service, then aggregated and analysed to provide a national perspective. Statistics presented include data on illicit drug arrests and seizures, and is further disaggregated by type of drug, state/territory and sex of consumer/provider.


The National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) was established in 1990 following recommendations of the National Committee on Violence. The aim of the Program is to identify the characteristics of individuals which place them at risk of homicide victimisation and of offending, and the circumstances which contribute to the likelihood of a homicide occurring. Data is collected by the AIC from each State and Territory police agency in the form of individual crime records. This data is then analysed and statistics are presented on the number and type of incidents, offenders and victims. More detailed data is available on outcome of investigations, weapon use, victim–offender relationships, precipitating factors and other victim and offender demographics.


The Deaths in Custody collection, which began in 1992, covers all deaths that have occurred in police, prison and juvenile justice custody throughout Australia. Data is collected by the AIC from each State and Territory police agency, correctional authority and juvenile justice/welfare authority. This information includes details on the personal characteristics of those who have died, their custodial and legal status, and the cause and manner of their deaths. The AIC also has available custodial deaths data obtained from the Criminology Unit of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody for the period 1980 to the end of 1989.


The Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) collection, which began in 1999, provides data on illicit drugs at both the local and national level. Information includes statistics on supply and demand, patterns of drug use, local drug markets, criminal activity and treatment. DUMA is run in a partnership arrangement between the AIC, local police services and researchers, with the primary data collected by local police services, local universities or researchers. At present, the DUMA collection has just received federal funding for a further two years.


Currently in Australia, this collection is the only existing national data on juvenile justice, and is a collection on persons in juvenile detention centres. The information in this collection is provided to the AIC by State and Territory departments responsible for the administration of juvenile justice within their jurisdiction. This collection has been established since 1981, and provides a count of the number of youth in detention centres, classified by age, sex, Indigenous status and legal status (remanded or sentenced) at the end of each quarter.

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