4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2015-16 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/03/2017   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product


EXPERIMENTAL FAMILY AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE STATISTICS

INTRODUCTION

This chapter presents the first release of the experimental data about defendants finalised for Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) related offences. The data presented in this release were supplied from the data recording systems used by the criminal courts in selected jurisdictions. Data are presented for six states and territories for the Higher, Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts where this information was available.

The defendants presented here are a subset of all defendants finalised in Australian state and territory criminal courts during 2015–16. However, direct comparisons cannot be made to data in the other data cubes because of the different counting rules applied here. For more information refer to Explanatory Notes paragraphs 116–118.

The data presented in this release are based on an FDV indicator. This indicator has been compiled using a police initiated FDV flag transferred to the criminal courts as recorded by police agencies in their crime recording systems; a criminal courts derived flag using local legislative references; or whether a matter was allocated to an FDV specialist court list.

The 2015–16 FDV Criminal Courts data presented here is an experimental data set. Further work is required to improve the comparability and quality of these data. For instance developing and implementing a uniform set of standards, classifications and business rules to guide the national recording and reporting of FDV related offences. Caution should be exercised when using the data and making comparisons across states and territories.

The ABS is interested in feedback from users of these statistics on any aspect of the release. Please send written feedback to: crime.justice@abs.gov.au.

FDV related data referred to in this chapter were drawn from the data cube: 13 Defendants of Family and Domestic Violence, Experimental data, selected states and territories.

KEY FINDINGS

New South Wales

Defendants finalised in New South Wales Criminal Courts were identified as FDV related where an offence was recorded as FDV related either in the charge, or where the matter was identified as FDV related in court1.

The majority of defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences had their matters finalised in the Magistrates’ Courts (22,718 defendants) compared to the Higher Courts (368 defendants) and the Children’s Courts (1,317 defendants). (Table 1)

In the Magistrates’ Courts:
  • Defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences were 5 times more likely to be male than female (19,045 male defendants compared to 3,673 female defendants);
  • The most common principal FDV offence was Acts intended to cause injury (16,665 defendants) followed by Breach of violence orders (3,898 defendants);
  • The majority of defendants were proven guilty (74% or 16,845 defendants ) and a further 3,203 defendants had their matters/charges withdrawn by prosecution; and
  • Of the defendants proven guilty for a principal FDV offence of Acts intended to cause injury, 72% (or 8,508) were sentenced to a non-custodial order with the remaining 3,286 defendants sentenced to a custodial order. (Tables 1 and 7)

Graph Image for FDV DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Magistrates' Court, Selected principal FDV offences, New South Wales, 2015-16

Source(s): Criminal Courts, Australia


In the Higher Courts:
  • The most common principal FDV offence was Acts intended to cause injury (168 defendants) followed by Sexual assault and related offences (131 defendants); and
  • The majority of defendants were proven guilty (66% or 243 defendants). (Table 1)

In the Children’s Courts:
  • Defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences were 3 times more likely to be male than female (958 male defendants compared to 359 female defendants);
  • The most common principal FDV offence was Acts intended to cause injury (983 defendants) followed by Property damage (156 defendants);
  • The majority of defendants were proven guilty (76% or 1,006 defendants); and
  • The majority of the 734 defendants found guilty for Acts intended to cause injury (90% or 663 defendants) were sentenced to non-custodial orders. (Tables 1 and 7)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences were also more likely to be male than female across all court levels. (Table 2)

The most common principal FDV offence was Acts intended to cause injury followed by Breach of violence order for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants and non-Indigenous defendants in the Magistrates’ Courts. (Table 2)

Victoria

Victorian Criminal Courts were able to identify defendants finalised for at least one FDV related offence for the Children’s Courts and the Magistrates’ Courts using the police FDV flag transferred to the courts with the prosecutions information. The Victorian Higher Courts do not receive the police FDV flag hence there is no FDV data for this court level presented here.

The majority of defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences had their matters finalised in the Magistrates’ Courts (10,891 defendants) compared to the Children’s Courts (444 defendants). (Table 1)

In the Magistrates’ Courts:
  • Defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences were 6 times more likely to be male than female (9,218 male defendants compared to 1,673 female defendants);
  • The most common principal FDV offence was Acts intended to cause injury (5,473 defendants) followed by Breach of violence orders (3,543 defendants);
  • The majority of defendants were proven guilty (86% or 9,399 defendants) and a further 1,453 defendants had their matters withdrawn by the prosecution; and
  • Of the defendants proven guilty for a principal FDV offence of Acts intended to cause injury, 80% (or 3,673) were sentenced to a non-custodial order with the remaining 890 defendants sentenced to a custodial order. (Tables 1 and 7)

Graph Image for FDV DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Magistrates' Court, Selected principal FDV offences, Victoria, 2015-16

Source(s): Criminal Courts, Australia


In the Children’s Courts:
  • Defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences were more likely to be male than female (72 % or 319 male defendants compared to 125 female defendants);
  • The most common principal FDV offence was Acts intended to cause injury (289 defendants) followed by Property damage (82 defendants);
  • The majority of defendants were proven guilty (90% or 398 defendants); and
  • The majority of the 261 defendants proven guilty for a principal FDV offence of Acts intended to cause injury were sentenced to non-custodial orders (84% or 220 defendants). (Tables 1 and 7)

Western Australia

Western Australian Criminal Courts were able to identify defendants finalised for at least one FDV related offence in each of the court levels. The finalised defendants were identified by using the police flag provided at the time of prosecution.

The majority of defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences had their matters finalised in the Magistrates’ Courts (3,648 defendants) compared to the Higher Courts (93 defendants) and the Children’s Courts (120 defendants). (Table 1)

In the Magistrates’ Courts:
  • Defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences were 6 times more likely to be male than female (3,085 male defendants compared to 543 female defendants);
  • The most common principal FDV offence was Acts intended to cause injury (1,643 defendants) followed by Breach of violence orders (1,514 defendants);
  • The majority of defendants were proven guilty (87% or 3,185 defendants ) and a further 296 defendants had their matters withdrawn by the prosecution; and
  • Of the defendants proven guilty for a principal FDV offence of Acts intended to cause injury, 66% (or 879 defendants) were sentenced to a non-custodial order with the remaining 454 defendants sentenced to a custodial order.

Graph Image for FDV DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Magistrates' Court, Selected principal FDV offences, Western Australia, 2015-16

Source(s): Criminal Courts, Australia


In the Children’s Courts:
  • Defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences were 4 times more likely to be male than female (97 male defendants compared to 22 female defendants);
  • The most common principal FDV offence was Acts intended to cause injury (58 defendants) followed by Breach of violence orders (30 defendants); and
  • The majority of defendants were proven guilty (78% or 94 defendants).

Tasmania

Tasmanian Criminal Courts were able to identify defendants finalised for at least one FDV related offence for the Children’s Courts and the Magistrates’ Courts using the Matter Family and Domestic Violence flag populated by police and transferred to the courts with the prosecutions information. The Tasmanian Higher Courts do not receive an FDV flag hence no FDV data is available for this court level.

The majority of defendants finalised for FDV related offences had their matters finalised in the Magistrates’ Courts (1,302 defendants) compared to the Children’s Courts (10 defendants). (Table 1)

In the Magistrates’ Courts:
  • Defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences were 5 times more likely to be male than female (1,098 male defendants compared to 204 female defendants);
  • The most common principal FDV offence was Acts intended to cause injury (702 defendants) followed by Breach of violence orders (530 defendants);
  • The majority of defendants were proven guilty (72% or 931 defendants ) and a further 282 defendants were acquitted; and
  • Of the 477 defendants proven guilty for a principal FDV offence of Acts intended to cause injury, 68% (or 326 defendants) were sentenced to a non-custodial order. (Tables 1 and 7)

Graph Image for FDV DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Magistrates' Court, Selected principal FDV offences, Tasmania, 2015-16

Source(s): Criminal Courts, Australia



Northern Territory

Northern Territory Criminal Courts were able to identify defendants finalised for at least one FDV related offence using the FDV flag populated by police and transferred to the courts with the prosecutions information.

The majority of defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences had their matters finalised in the Magistrates’ Courts (3,244 defendants) compared to the Higher Courts (124 defendants) and the Children’s Courts (93 defendants). (Table 1)

In the Magistrates’ Courts:
  • Defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences were 5 times more likely to be male than female (2,740 male defendants compared to 504 female defendants);
  • The most common principal FDV offence was Acts intended to cause injury (2,043 defendants) followed by Breach of violence orders (999 defendants);
  • The majority of defendants were proven guilty (82% or 2,651 defendants ) and a further 367 defendants had their matters withdrawn by the prosecution; and
  • Of the 1,554 defendants proven guilty for a principal FDV offence of Acts intended to cause injury, 86% (or 1,335 defendants) were sentenced to a custodial order. (Tables 1 and 7)

Graph Image for FDV DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Magistrates' Court, Selected principal FDV offences, Northern Territory, 2015-16

Source(s): Criminal Courts, Australia


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences were also more likely to be male than female across all court levels. (Table 2)

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants in the Magistrates’ Courts with a principal FDV offence of Acts intended to cause injury was higher than non-Indigenous defendants, with 64% (or 1,860 defendants) and 55% (or 163 defendants) respectively. (Table 2)

Australian Capital Territory

Australian Capital Territory Criminal Courts were able to identify defendants finalised for at least one FDV related offence in each of the court levels. The finalised defendants were identified using a combination of the police flag provided at the time of prosecution and their Family and Domestic Violence specialist court lists.

The majority of defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences had their matters finalised in the Magistrates’ Courts (559 defendants) compared to the Higher Courts (19 defendants) and the Children’s Courts (43 defendants). (Table 1)

In the Magistrates’ Courts:
  • Defendants finalised for one or more FDV related offences were 8 times more likely to be male than female (496 male defendants compared to 63 female defendants);
  • The most common principal FDV offence was Acts intended to cause injury (348 defendants) followed by Property damage (88 defendants) and Breach of violence orders (86 defendants);
  • The majority of defendants were proven guilty (74% or 411 defendants ) and a further 81 defendants had their charges/matters withdrawn by prosecution; and
  • Of the 256 defendants proven guilty for a principal FDV offence of Acts intended to cause injury, 64% (or 163) were sentenced to a non-custodial order and a further 68 defendants were sentenced to custody in a correctional institution. (Tables 1 and 7)

Graph Image for FDV DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Magistrates' Court, Selected principal FDV offences, Australian Capital Territory, 2015-16

Source(s): Criminal Courts, Australia



Footnotes
1. The recording of FDV offences is governed by the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. At present, the legislation does not enable the recording of FDV related offences against Commonwealth legislation (see Explanatory Notes paragraph 125).