4533.0 - Directory of Family and Domestic Violence Statistics, 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/11/2011   
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Contents >> National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS)



Geographic CoverageFrequencyData Availability
New South Wales
Western Australia
South Australia
Northern Territory
ASGC Remoteness
More than annual
2-4 yearly
Less than 5 yearly
Once only
Ad hoc
Detailed publication / report publicly available
Data cubes / spreadsheets publicly available
Agency annual report
Customised data - free upon request1
Customised data - charged consultancy1
Not published - may be available on request1
Not publicly available
[1] May be subject to release conditions



Data custodian: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Contact: National Information and Referral Service

Address: Locked Bag 10, Belconnen, ACT, 2616

Telephone: 1300 135 070

Facsimile: 1300 135 211

Email: client.services@abs.gov.au

Internet: https://www.abs.gov.au


National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Australia (cat. no.4720.0)
Microdata: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Expanded CURF, 2008 (Reissue) (cat. no. 4720.0.55.001)


The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) provides broad information across key areas of social concern for Indigenous Australians nationally, by state and territory and remoteness area.


The 2008 NATSISS was conducted from August 2008 to April 2009 with a sample of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in private dwellings across Australia. Information from the 2008 NATSISS contributes to existing data on Indigenous people and the formulation of government policies and legislation.

It provides information on a range of demographic, social, environmental and economic indicators, including: personal and household characteristics; geography; language and cultural activities; social networks and support; health and disability; education; employment; financial stress; income; transport; personal safety, crime and justice; and housing.

Collection Type


Family and Domestic Violence related content (data items collected)

Data Item
Secondary victim
Indigenous Status
Country of Birth
Language spoken

Main language spoken at home; Whether speaks an Indigenous language;
Difficulty communicating in English

Labour force status; Full-time/part-time status;
Occupation in main job;

Currently studying;
Highest year of school completed;
Certificate II or above/Year 12 equivalent;
Highest educational attainment;
Highest non-school qualification

Equivalised household gross weekly income (deciles);
Household gross weekly income (deciles);
Personal gross weekly income (deciles);
Principal source of personal income

Area of usual residence

Housing characteristics (Tenure type; Housing utilisation)
Personal data items
Services used / referrals to services


Barriers accessing service providers (includes legal service providers)
Health factors
alcohol use / substance use
mental illness

FDV-related perceptions
satisfaction with police response
seriousness/ regarded as criminal
whether problem in neighbourhood
feelings of safety / fear

Prior history of victimisation / offending
Known outcome
application for violence order
violence order issued
offender charged
offender went to court
offender found guilty
offender sentence type
child protection involvement
time off work / economic costs
medical treatment received / type
changed routine

Other personal data items

Life stressors (health problems, including alcohol related problems and pregnancy in the last 12 months; family changes; work problems; other problems including abuse);
Ever removed from family; Cultural participation;
Social capital (social contact, social networks, social support; sense of efficacy in the community; general trust and trust in selected community services);
1 NATSISS collects information about whether or not the respondent was a victim of physical violence in the last 12 months. Respondent may or may not have experienced FDV.

Data Item
school/place of education/institution
public place
Relationship between parties
married/de facto spouse
current / former partner/boyfriend/girlfriend
other member of household
other relatives
relationships of personal or financial dependency

Weapon use
type of weapon
Alcohol involved
Substance use involved

Physical injury sustained
type of injury

Reported to police
reasons for not reporting

Whether health services accessed if injured in incident

Definition of Family and Domestic Violence

Family and Domestic Violence is defined by the survey questions. Respondents were asked whether they thought "family violence" was a neighbourhood / community problem (along with 12 other types of neighbourhood / community problems).

Victims of assault were defined as respondents who reported experiencing any incident in the last 12 months where force of violence was used against them, or where they were threatened with physical force or violence.

Victims who reported knowing their offenders, were asked to nominate their type of relationships from a list. The following family and/or domestic relationship categories were included:
    • current partner (de facto, husband, wife);
    • previous partner (de facto, husband, wife);
    • boyfriend, girlfriend or date;
    • ex-boyfriend, girlfriend or date;
    • parent;
    • child;
    • sibling;
    • other family member;
Aspects of FDV captured in the data are:
  • Physical abuse (assault)

Relationship to Conceptual Framework for Family and Domestic Violence (Cat. No. 4529.0)

Conceptual Framework Element / Sub-element
Amount of Information Available
Environmental Factors
Individual pyscho-social factors
Community prevalence
Community incidence
Understandings and acknowledgments of risk and safety
Informal responses
Formal system responses
Programs, Research & Evaluation

Collection methodology

The survey was conducted by interviewers who had received cultural awareness training, that provided information specifically developed for surveys involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I via personal interviews at selected private dwellings. Interviews were predominantly conducted using a Computer-Assisted Interviewing (CAI) questionnaire. In remote areas, a paper back-up of the questionnaire was available, if needed, but generally was not used. In non-remote areas a self-enumerated paper form was used to collect information on substance use.

Interviewers conducted a screening process to identify households where one or more household members were identified as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Interviewers went to dwellings in selected areas and asked one usually resident household member (aged 18 years or over), if anyone in the household is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. If the household spokesperson stated that one or more usual residents were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, the household form was commenced.

The household form collected general demographic information about the household and its usual residents. Based on this information, individuals were randomly selected for personal interview. For selected households in discrete remote Indigenous communities and outstations, up to one Indigenous person aged 15 years and over and up to one Indigenous child aged 0-14 years was randomly selected. For selected households in non-remote and remote non-community areas up to two Indigenous persons aged 15 years and over and up to two Indigenous children aged 0-14 years were randomly selected. The personal safety and victims of assault questions were asked only of selected persons aged 15 years and over.

All interviews with selected persons were conducted face-to-face. Due to the sensitive nature of the survey questions, it was suggested that interviews be conducted in private.

Multi-stage random sampling methods were used to select a 'community sample' from discrete Indigenous communities (including any out-stations associated with them) and a non-community sample (comprising dwellings not covered in the community sample). This yielded a total sample size of approximately 13,300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in private dwellings across Australia.

After screening households in non-community areas, approximately 2.5% were identified as having an Indigenous usual resident. Of these households, 83% responded to the survey. This response rate does not take into account approximately 11% of households who were unable to be contacted and therefore establish the Indigenous status of usual residents. In communities, 78% of in-scope households were fully responding.

Scope / target population
The scope of the NATSISS is all Indigenous people who were usual residents of private dwellings in Australia. Private dwellings are houses, flats, home units and any other structures used as private places of residence at the time of the survey. People usually resident in non-private dwellings, such as hotels, motels, hostels, hospitals, nursing homes, and short-stay caravan parks were not in scope. Usual residents are those who usually live in a particular dwelling and regard it as their own or main home. Visitors to private dwellings that had been resident six months or longer were included.

Further scope exclusions for this survey were:
    • Non-Indigenous persons;
    • Non-Australian diplomats, diplomatic staff and members of their household;
    • Members of non-Australian defence forces stationed in Australia and their dependents; and
    • Overseas visitors.

The 2008 NATSISS was conducted in remote and non-remote areas in all states and territories of Australia, including discrete Indigenous communities.

Coverage exclusions applied, to manage enumeration costs, included:
    • Collection Districts (CDs) with no Indigenous households;
    • Some Mesh Blocks with no Indigenous households;
    • Some remote Indigenous communities with a small number of Indigenous households; and
    • Some CDs in remote areas with a small number of Indigenous households.
These coverage exclusions result in an estimated undercoverage of approximately 6% of Indigenous persons in Australia. Although these areas were not enumerated, the final sample was weighted to population benchmarks to account for these exclusions. Further information on undercoverage is provided in the NATSISS Users' Guide, 2008 (cat. no. 4720.0).

Geographic coverage and disaggregation


Data available for:
State/Territory (all)
City / region

Frequency / Timing

6 yearly

Collection history

Collection commenced: August 2008 - April 2009

Breaks in series: no

Other details: The ABS previously conducted the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) in 2002. Due to differences in how the data were collected and the inclusion of new items, not all data items are comparable. More information on the comparability of data between the 2002 and 2008 surveys is available in the Explanatory Notes that accompany the 2008 publication.

Data availability / Dissemination

The main publication and state/territory data cubes for selected data items can be downloaded free of charge from the ABS website.
Microdata are available in the form of a Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF). Information about how to apply for microdata is available on the ABS website. Additional tailored tables, providing more detail, or data items not included in the publication are available on request as a 'user pays' service, subject to confidentiality and data quality.

Other data sources held by this agency

Crime Victimisation
Personal Safety Survey
Women’s Safety Survey

Has this data source changed?
Contact the ABS to report updates or corrections to the information above.

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