ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
This publication presents statistics relating to the number and characteristics of alleged offenders (hereafter referred to as “offenders”) aged 10 years and over who have been proceeded against by police during the 12 month reference period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016, as well as selected data for the reference periods 2008–09 through to 2014–15. This includes their age, sex, Indigenous Status, principal offence, and how often they have been proceeded against by police within the reference period, as well as a count of proceedings comprising court and non-court actions.
The statistics are based on data extracted from the administrative records of state and territory police agencies. National statistics require a level of uniformity when compiling data from different states and territories. As such, data from the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection have been compiled according to national standards and classifications to ensure comparability (see Explanatory Notes, paragraphs 43–49).
Responsibility for policing largely resides with individual Australian state and territory governments, and therefore different legislative offences and practices may exist across jurisdictions. Although national standards and classifications are used to produce these data, there will be genuine differences across state and territory jurisdictions for some offence types. The data largely reflect the administrative processes of police agencies in dealing with offenders. Furthermore, the range of court and non-court actions available to police when proceeding against offenders varies between states and territories. For more information, refer to paragraphs 50–82 of the Explanatory Notes.
Recorded Crime – Offenders features two distinct counting units: offenders and proceedings.
For the offender population, a person is only counted once regardless of how many times he or she may have been dealt with by police during the reference period. For example, if a person committed offences on two different dates during the reference year and police proceeded against them for each separate incident, the person would be only counted once.
Offender rates presented in this edition are calculated using Estimated Resident Population (ERP) data (derived from Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0)) and expressed as the number of offenders per 100,000 population.
Police proceeding counts
Data relating to police proceedings represent a count for each separate occasion on which police initiate legal action against an offender. A person may therefore be counted more than once during the reference period for police proceedings.
The Offenders, Australia chapter presents statistics about all offenders aged 10 years and over who were proceeded against by state/territory police during the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016 at a national level, and also for each state and territory.
The Youth offenders chapter presents data relating to the characteristics of offenders aged 10–17 years.
The Indigenous Status, selected states and territories chapter presents data relating to the Indigenous Status of offenders. Indigenous Status data are presented for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (refer to paragraphs 27–31 of the Explanatory Notes).
The Police proceedings, selected states and territories chapter presents data on the number of separate occasions where an offender has had a legal action initiated against them during the reference period. Police proceedings data are presented for all states and territories except Western Australia and the Northern Territory (refer to paragraphs 71 and 79 of the Explanatory Notes).
The Experimental Family and Domestic Violence statistics chapter presents experimental data on offenders of family and domestic violence related offences, as recorded by police. Data are presented for New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (refer to paragraphs 32–42 of the Explanatory Notes).
The Explanatory Notes provide detailed information on the data sources, scope, counting rules, data comparability and other technical matters associated with this publication.
CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE
Data for the 2014–15 reference period have been revised since the previous issue of this publication, as a result of updated information received from New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. There have also been revisions to the Western Australian data for the 2009–10 to 2013–14 reference periods. The revisions are incorporated in the data cubes available in this publication. Note that the extent of revisions differs for individual states and territories and/or between data items (refer to paragraphs 88–89 of the Explanatory Notes).
Revised age standardisation rates are presented in Table 23 due to an error found in the calculation of previously published rates which has been corrected for this issue.
For this edition of the publication there has been a change in the definition of a “youth offender”. Whereas in previous years a youth offender was defined as being aged between 10–19 years, this chapter is based on offenders aged 10–17 years. This change was made in order to bring the collection into line with the commonly accepted definition used in the field of youth justice. The change has also been applied to previous reference periods in this publication, to provide a consistent basis for comparisons over time.
Users are advised to refer to the most recent publication for all historical data.
Proportions and percentages cited in the publication text have been rounded up/down to the nearest whole number.
INFORMATION ON ABS CRIME AND JUSTICE
Details of other ABS publications relating to crime and justice statistics can be found in the Related Information tab. For links related to non-ABS publications refer to paragraph 95 of the Explanatory Notes.
The ABS acknowledges the valuable contribution of the staff of the various agencies that provide the data that are presented in this publication, the Board of Management of the National Crime Statistics Unit, the National Crime Statistics Advisory Group and the Police Statisticians’ Group.
For further information about these and related statistics contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 090, or by email at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.