4530.0 - Crime Victimisation, Australia, 2014-15 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/02/2016   
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This publication presents findings from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2014–15 Crime Victimisation Survey, which was conducted throughout Australia from July 2014 to June 2015. This is the seventh annual national survey of crime victimisation in Australia, with the first Crime Victimisation Survey conducted in 2008–09. The publication presents estimates of the extent of victimisation experienced by Australians aged 15 years and over for selected types of crime, and whether or not the most recent incident of each crime type was reported to police. The survey also collects information about selected characteristics of incidents of victimisation (such as the location of the incident and the victim’s relationship to the offender) and socio-demographic details of persons who experienced crime (such as age, sex and education). The data referred to within this commentary are available to download as data cubes from the Download tab within this publication.


The types of crime collected in the survey included both personal crimes and household crimes. Definitions of the individual crime types can be found in the Glossary.

The personal crimes included in the survey were:

  • Physical assault
  • Threatened assault (including face-to-face and non face-to-face threatened assault)
  • Robbery
  • Sexual assault.

The household crimes included in the survey were:
  • Break-in
  • Attempted break-in
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Theft of property from a motor vehicle
  • Malicious property damage
  • Other theft.


For the Crime Victimisation Survey, a victim is a person or household who has experienced at least one incident of a selected type of crime in the 12 months prior to interview in 2014–15. While state and territory legislative definitions of these crime types differ, the survey questions focused on specific actions and events to ensure consistency in definitions and responses across jurisdictions. For example, a respondent was counted as a victim of physical assault if they reported they had experienced 'physical force or violence' against their person. Responses therefore reflect individual respondents' subjective understanding of the survey questions and their own interpretation of their experiences.

A victim may report multiple incidents of a type of crime within the reference period, however for this survey, a victim is only counted once for each type of crime experienced.


An incident is a single occurrence of a crime event, such as a break-in to a household or an assault of a person. In any particular incident, a number of different types of crimes may be committed against a person or household. The Crime Victimisation Survey collects each relevant type of crime within an incident separately.

For instance, a person might confront someone breaking into their home and deliberately damaging property and subsequently be assaulted during that same incident. In this example, the person would be counted once for break-in (as a household victim), once for malicious property damage (as a household victim) and once for physical assault (as a person victim) (as demonstrated in Diagram 1).

Diagram 1: Breakdown of incident recording


People and households may experience more than one criminal incident in the 12 months prior to interview, which may involve the same crime type or differing crime types. For the Crime Victimisation Survey, 'multiple victimisation' refers to victims who experienced more than one instance of the same crime type within the 12 months prior to interview. For example, a person who reports experiencing assault on three separate occasions within the reference period is considered, for the purposes of the survey, as having experienced multiple victimisation for assault. Where a victim reports experiencing multiple victimisation, specific details (e.g. location of crime, relationship to offender, whether alcohol or other substance was involved in the incident) are only collected for the most recent instance of that crime type experienced by the victim.

Data on multiple victimisation are presented in this publication as a categorical variable, based on the number of incidents of each crime type experienced by victims.


Estimates from the Crime Victimisation Survey provide important information for the community about the extent of crime in Australia. This includes not only incidents that are reported to the police, but also those that are not brought to the attention of the police. This differs from available administrative data sourced from state and territory police, which capture only those incidents that are reported to and recorded by police. More information about the differences between administrative data and survey data when measuring victims of crime can be found in the ABS information paper Measuring Victims of Crime: A Guide to Using Administrative and Survey Data, June 2011 (cat. no. 4500.0.55.001).

Data from the Crime Victimisation Survey are used by police, the justice sector, researchers and the wider Australian community to better understand the extent and nature of certain types of crime in Australia and the proportion of crime that is reported to the police. This knowledge contributes to a range of community, police and public policy initiatives, such as operational planning, evaluation of services, education programs and prevention policies.


There is limited information available in this publication about family and domestic violence. The Crime Victimisation Survey collects information about experiences of personal violence and the relationship between the victim and offender, however, this information alone is not sufficient to reliably measure the number of people who have experienced family and domestic violence. The Crime Victimisation Survey collects incident characteristics information, including relationship to the offender, only for the most recent incident of each type of personal crime experienced in the 12 months prior to interview. This means that not all experiences of personal violence by each relationship type - including current and previous partners - are captured in the survey. In addition, as interviews are conducted by telephone in the respondent’s home there is no requirement for a private interview setting for the Crime Victimisation Survey (as is the case for the Personal Safety Survey). This non-private setting means respondents may be less likely to disclose any experiences of violence by their partner if their partner is present in the home at the time of interview. As a result, the statistics on relationship type available in this publication should be interpreted with caution and cannot be used to draw conclusions about the prevalence of family and domestic violence in Australia.

Due to the relationships between victim and perpetrator, family and domestic violence is often repeated and ongoing and this aspect cannot be determined from the Crime Victimisation Survey. Further information about defining and measuring family and domestic violence is available in Defining the Data Challenge for Family Domestic and Sexual Violence, 2013 (cat. no. 4529.0 and related publications) and statistics are available in Personal Safety, Australia, 2012 (cat. no. 4906.0) and Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia, 2014 (cat. no. 4510.0).


The statistics included in this publication are based on survey data obtained from a sample of the Australian population. The figures contained in the tables are referred to as 'estimates,' and are calculated by adjusting results from a sample survey to produce an estimated result for the entire in-scope population. The difference between the result obtained from surveying a sample of persons rather than the entire in-scope population is referred to as sampling error. As a general rule, sampling error tends to decrease as the size of the sample increases. This means sampling error is likely to be higher for estimates relating to smaller subpopulations and low-prevalence experiences.

The relative standard error (RSE) is a standardised measure of sampling error. Estimates with a RSE of less than 25% are considered sufficiently reliable for most purposes, and only these are referred to in the publication commentary. Due to the relatively small numbers of persons experiencing certain types of crime, some of the estimates provided in the data cubes are subject to high sampling error; these are indicated by footnotes when presented in the publication commentary and through the use of cell comments in data cubes. Estimates with a RSE of between 25% and 49% are considered to be of lower accuracy, and users are advised to use these with caution. Where estimates have a RSE of 50% or more, the RSE value is not available for publication and users are advised that these estimates are considered too unreliable for general use.

All comparisons between populations mentioned in the publication commentary have been tested for statistical significance, with a 95% level of confidence that there is a real difference between the two populations being compared. More information about significance testing can be found in the Technical Note.


To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique called perturbation is used to randomly adjust cell values. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics. Perturbation has been applied to data from 2013-14 onwards.

Where the same statistic is published more than once in different tables, it is perturbed in the same way to ensure consistency across tables. However, cell values may not add up to totals within the same table as a result of perturbation.