4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, Sep 2018  
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SAFETY AND JUSTICE

The Safety and Justice section contains the following sub-topics:

Experiences of crime (violence, sexual harassment, stalking, robbery)
Victimisation rates (persons who experienced physical or threatened physical assault, robbery, reporting rates)
Imprisonment (including rates by offence, sentence length)
Offenders (by age and principal offence)

Detailed data relating to these sub-topics are available from the Downloads tab of this publication (see Data Cube 12 – Safety and Justice). References to tables throughout these insights relate to tables within that data cube.


INSIGHTS

Experiences of crime

Experience of physical or threatened assault or violence

In 2016–17, 4.3% of women and 5.2% of men aged 15 years and over had experienced assault or threatened assault in the previous 12 months (418,800 women and 491,700 men). While rates for women have remained relatively stable since 2008–09, those for men have dropped slightly over this time (see Figure 1 below, and Table 12.5).

Graph Image for Figure 1 - All persons 15 years and older, experienced assault or threatened assault, by sex, 2008-09 to 2016-17 (a)

Footnote(s): (a) Persons who experienced assault as a proportion of total persons for each sex. Includes both face-to-face and non face-to-face physical assault and threatened physical assault.

Source(s): Australian Bureau of Statistics, Crime Victimisation, Australia, cat. no. 4530.0



Just over one in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (21%) and men (22%) aged 18 years and over had experienced physical or threatened violence in 2014–15, a level that was relatively unchanged from 2008. 'Violence' includes physical assault and physical threats or attempts (see Table 12.2).

Sexual assault

In 2017, females were over four times as likely as males to have a recorded incidence of sexual assault: 166 females per 100,000 females, compared with 36 males per 100,000 males. Although these rates have remained relatively stable since 2010, 2017 has seen the highest rise, to date, in females reporting sexual assault; a rise of 11 females per 100,000 females (see Table 12.8).

Sexual harassment

Women were also about twice as likely to have experienced sexual harassment in the last 12 months (17.3% of women and 9.3% of men). Both women and men are more likely to have experienced sexual harassment by a person of the opposite sex (see Figure 2 below, and Table 12.3).

Graph Image for Figure 2 - Experience of sexual harassment during the last 12 months by sex of perpetrator, 2016


Robbery

In 2017, of these victims, males were more likely to have been robbed than females (that is, where someone stole or attempted to steal their property by physically attacking them or threatening them with violence). Recorded robbery rates declined between 2010 and 2015 (from 27 females and 87 males per 100,00 in 2010, to 16 females and 46 males per 100,000 in 2015) but have stayed relatively stable since then. Males were also twice as likely as females to be blackmailed (see Table 12.8).

Reporting rates (whether told police about experience of selected personal crimes)

In 2016–17, reporting rates for physical assault were 56% and 52% respectively for females and males: that is, just over half the people who had experienced an incident of physical assault in the last 12 months had reported their most recent incident to police. These reporting rates were lower for face-to-face threatened assault, at 43% for females and 39% for males (see Table 12.7).

Imprisonment

At 30 June 2017, there were 3,300 women and 37,900 men in Australian adult corrective services facilities. Imprisonment rates were highest for males aged 25–34 (see Figure 3, below, and Table 12.9).

Graph Image for Figure 3 - All persons 18 years and over, imprisonment rates, by age and sex, 2017 (a)(b)

Footnote(s): (a) In all States and Territories except Queensland, persons remanded or sentenced to adult custody are aged 18 years and over. In Queensland, 'adult' refers to persons aged 17 years and over. (b) Rates are per 100,000 adult population.

Source(s): Australian Bureau of Statistics, Prisoners in Australia, cat. no. 4517.0



Between 30 June 2007 and 30 June 2017, the imprisonment rate increased or remained the same for all age and sex cohorts except 19 year old males who experienced a slight decrease (see Table 12.9). The median sentence length has remained steady for both females and males over the past decade, though females have slightly lower sentence lengths at 24 months compared to 36 months for males (see Table 12.12).

At 30 June 2017, there were 2,100 female and 26,100 male sentenced prisoners in Australia. Sentenced prisoners made up 68% of prisoners, with the remainder being unsentenced.

In 2017, the most common ‘most serious offences’ for sentenced females were illicit drug offences (21%) and acts intended to cause injury (15%). For males, acts intended to cause injury was the most common 'most serious offence' (18%). Females were more likely to have been sentenced for fraud, deception and related offences (10% compared with 2% of male sentenced prisoners), whereas males were much more likely to have been sentenced for sexual assault and related offences (14% compared with 2% of female sentenced prisoners). (See Table 12.11)

Data from the National Prisoner Census shows that imprisonment rates were highest for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males (see Figure 4 below, and Table 12.10).

Graph Image for Figure 4 - All persons 18 years and over, imprisonment rates by Indigenous status and sex, 2007 to 2017 (a)(b)

Footnote(s): (a) In all States and Territories except Queensland, persons remanded or sentenced to adult custody are aged 18 years and over. In Queensland, 'adult' refers to persons aged 17 years and over. (b) Rates are per 100,000 adult population.

Source(s): Australian Bureau of Statistics, Prisoners in Australia, cat. no. 4517.0



Offenders

Offenders are people aged 10 years and over who police have taken legal action against for one or more criminal offences. In 2016–17 there were 910 female and 3,000 male offenders per 100,000 females and males in Australia. Rates of offenders have remained relatively stable since 2008–09, with male offender rates consistently more than triple that of female offender rates.

Acts intended to cause injury, public order offences, illicit drug offences and theft and related offences were the most common principal offences (that is, the most serious offence for which a person has been proceeded against by police during the reference period) for both females and males.

The highest offender rate for females was for theft and related offences (248 per 100,000 females compared with 489 per 100,000 males). For males, the highest offender rates were equally for illicit drug offences (588 per 100,000 males compared to 181 per 100,000 females) and acts intended to cause injury (588 per 100,000 males compared to 156 per 100,000 females).

Graph Image for Figure 5 - Leading principal offences, females, 2008-09 to 2016-17 (a)

Footnote(s): (a) Rate per 100,000 persons aged 10 years and over

Source(s): ABS Recorded Crime - Offenders, Australia, 2016-17 (cat. no. 4519.0)



Graph Image for Figure 6 - Leading principal offences, males, 2008-09 to 2016-17 (a)

Footnote(s): (a) Rate per 100,000 persons aged 10 years and over

Source(s): ABS Recorded Crime - Offenders, Australia, 2016-17 (cat. no. 4519.0)



Between 2008–09 and 2016–17, the male offender rate for sexual assault and related offences has increased from 66 to 73 males per 100,000 males aged 10 years and over, having decreased to a minimum of 58 males per 100,000 males in 2010–11 and increasing steadily since that period. The offender rates for females for sexual assault increased steadily from 2.3 in 2008–09 to 5.8 females per 100,000 in 2015–16 but then decreased to 4.4 for 2016–17 (see Table 12.14).