4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2014-15 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 01/03/2016   
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1 March 2016
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
Fewer younger defendants in criminal courts

The number of younger defendants (10-19 year olds) finalised in Australian state and territory criminal courts decreased by seven per cent (4,788 defendants) in 2014-15, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Director of Crime and Justice Statistics, William Milne, said that today's Criminal Courts, Australia publication revealed that while the overall number of defendants had increased, the number of younger defendants had decreased over the last year.

"The total number of defendants finalised in Australia's criminal courts increased by two per cent to 588,167 defendants in 2014-15," Mr Milne said. "This was driven by an increase of two per cent in the Magistrates' Courts (10,489 defendants), and numbers in the Higher Courts also increased (two per cent or 281 defendants).”

“In contrast, the decrease in younger defendants was reflected by a fall of six per cent (1,753 defendants) in the number of defendants finalised in the Children's Courts compared to 2013-14."

The most common offence for which younger defendants were finalised in 2014-15 was Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (accounting for almost one in five or 18 per cent), followed by Acts intended to cause injury and Theft and related offences (each accounting for 15 per cent of younger defendants).

The number of older defendants (55 years and over) finalised in Australian state and territory criminal courts increased by five per cent (1,789 defendants) compared to 2013-14. Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences were also the most common offence for older defendants with nearly half (49 per cent) finalised for this offence.

The Criminal Courts Australia annual publication contains national information on defendants finalised in the Higher (Supreme and Intermediate), Magistrates' and Children's criminal courts between 1 July and 30 June each year. Details are provided on the characteristics and outcomes of finalised defendants, and are also presented for each state and territory, and for each of the three court levels.

Further information can be found in Criminal Courts, Australia, 2014-15 (cat. no. 4513.0) available for free download from the ABS website - https://www.abs.gov.au.

Media notes:
  • Offences relate to the most serious charge faced by a defendant.
  • A defendant finalised is a person or organisation for whom all charges for one case have been formally completed so that the defendant ceases to be an item of work.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • Media requests and interviews - contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070.