4519.0 - Recorded Crime - Offenders, 2012-13 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2014   
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"Principal offence" refers to the most serious offence type for which a person has been proceeded against during the reference period. This is determined through the ranking of offences in the National Offence Index (NOI). For details of the Index refer to Appendix 2. For a definition of "principal offence", refer to the Explanatory Notes, paragraphs 13-16.

Nationally, the most prevalent principal offences were:
  • Public order offences (72,703 offenders, or 19%);
  • Acts intended to cause injury (68,475 offenders, or 18%);
  • Illicit drug offences (64,250 offenders, or 16%); and
  • Theft (60,822 offenders, or 16%).

There was minimal change in the distribution of the main principal offence types across the offender populations between 2011-12 and 2012-13 (Table 1). The proportion of offenders with Theft and Acts intended to cause injury as a principal offence declined, while the proportion with a principal offence of Illicit drug offences and Public order offences increased.

Graph Image for OFFENDERS, Proportion by selected principal offence - 2008-09 to 2012-13

The median age of offenders varied by type of principal offence. The median age was lower for the principal offences of:
  • Unlawful entry with intent (20 years of age);
  • Robbery and extortion (21 years of age);
  • Theft (23 years of age); and
  • Property damage (23 years of age). (Table 2)

The median age was higher for the principal offences of:
  • Sexual assault (33 years of age);
  • Homicide (31 years of age); and
  • Offences against justice (31 years of age).