4500.0 - Crime and Justice News, Nov 2004  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/11/2004   
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Copies of all publications can be ordered by contacting the ABS National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia (4510.0)

On 27 May 2004, the ABS released Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia 2003. This publication presents statistics on victims of a selected range of offences that were recorded by state and territory police in Australia during 2003. It includes information on the personal characteristics of victims, levels of victimisation, and characteristics associated with the offence such as the relationship of offender to victim, location, outcome of investigation, and weapon use.

The offence categories with the largest number of victims recorded by Australian police during 2003 were other theft (638,968), unlawful entry with intent (353,419) and assault (158,629).

Overall the number of victims recorded by Australian police declined in most offence categories in 2003. This was particularly the case for offences involving the taking of property. Motor vehicle theft decreased by 13% and unlawful entry with intent decreased by 10%. Victims of robbery fell by 6%, with armed robbery falling by 9% and unarmed robbery by 5%. Other offence categories to record a decrease included other theft (6%), homicide and related offences (4%) and assault (1%).

VICTIMS(a), Change in number from 2002 to 2003
VICTIMS(a), Change in number from 2002 to 2003
(a) The definition of a victim varies according to the category of the offence.

In 2003, the victimisation rates for unlawful entry with intent (1,778 per 100,000 population) and motor vehicle theft (497 per 100,000 population) were the lowest since national reporting began in 1993. The robbery victimisation rate of 99 per 100,000 population was the lowest since 1997.

The assault victimisation rate for 2003 was 798 per 100,000 persons, a 2% decrease from 2002 (815 per 100,000). This was the first decrease in the victimisation rate for this offence category since 1995. The sexual assault victimisation rate increased from 71 to 92 per 100,000 persons between 1994 and 2003. In contrast, victimisation rates for homicide and related offences remained fairly stable over this period, ranging from 5 to 6 per 100,000 persons between 1994 and 2003.

Other offence categories for which there were increases between 2002 and 2003 in numbers of victims recorded, included blackmail/extortion (4%) and kidnapping/abduction (1%). Driving causing death (15%) also increased, but a 19% decrease in the number of victims of manslaughter, a 12% decrease in attempted murder and a 5% decrease in murders resulted in an overall decrease in victims for the homicide and related offences category.

More males than females were victims of robbery and blackmail/extortion (68% of victims were male for both), murder and attempted murder (both 67%) and assault (57%). For sexual assault and kidnapping/abduction more females were victims than males (82% and 62%).

Persons aged 24 years or less comprised the majority of recorded victims of sexual assault (72%) and kidnapping/abduction (71%), and nearly half of victims of robbery (49%). In contrast, this age group comprised less than one in three victims of attempted murder (31%), murder (27%), driving causing death (25%) and
blackmail/extortion (25%).

Approximately half of the victims of murder, attempted murder, assault and sexual assault knew their offender. For sexual assault, the victim was four times more likely to know the offender than not.

Corrective Services, Australia (4512.0)

The June quarter 2004 issue of Corrective Services, Australia was released on 23 September 2004. This publication presents time series information on persons in custody and community-based corrections. Details are provided by state/territory on prisoner counts and rates of imprisonment by type of custody, legal status, sentence type and Indigenous Status. Information is also presented on the number of sentenced receptions into custody and the number of federal prisoners.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (cat. no. 4714.0)

The results of the second national social survey of Indigenous people were released on 23 June 2004 and point to some changes since the groundbreaking original survey in 1994.

There was a decline in the proportion of Indigenous people who reported having been arrested in the previous five years (from 20% in 1994 to 16% in 2002).

Compared to 1994, Indigenous people in 2002 were nearly twice as likely to report that they had been a victim of physical or threatened violence in the previous 12 months (25% in 2002, up from 13% in 1994).

These victimisation rates were high among unemployed people (38%) and younger people (33% of those aged 15-24).