4500.0 - Crime and Justice News, Nov 2004  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/11/2004   
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Criminal Courts Data Dictionary

Work on a Data Dictionary for the Criminal Courts has commenced. The aims of this project are to achieve a common set of definitions and classifications within criminal courts collections, and to provide a common base from which criminal courts statistics can be extracted and disseminated across agencies, to ensure maximum comparability between published court statistics.

The data dictionary will describe a core set of concepts and data elements, allowing users to understand the relationships between the terms and concepts used in criminal courts statistics. Version 1 of the data dictionary will include the Higher and Magistrates’ Criminal Courts but it is expected that the dictionary will expand over time to encompass other Court levels and further data elements.

If you have questions about, or would like input into the Criminal Courts Data Dictionary, email <crime.justice@abs.gov.au>.

National Information Development Plan for Crime and Justice

The National Information Development Plan for Crime and Justice identifies national information needs in the field of crime and justice. The draft identifies current data sources and describes key gaps, deficiencies and overlaps in data collection with reference to the national information needs. The draft is under development by the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics in collaboration with a large range of Australian, state and territory agencies, as well as with various non-government bodies.

There are two nationally consistent policy imperatives that underpin the key information needs in crime and justice; community safety, and the effective and efficient administration of justice. The priority national information requirements identified in the draft NIDP are:

  • the need to improve the comparability of data across the sector and across jurisdictions
  • the need for quality data about the characteristics of offenders, victims and incidents.

For more information about the NIDP, please email <crime.justice@abs.gov.au>.

Retirement of Chairs

Dr Jeanette Packer has been a member of the National Crime Statistics Advisory Group since 1994, and has chaired that group since 1997. As Chair of the Advisory Group she has been a member of the Board of Management for the National Crime Statistics Unit. Jeanette's last working day was 8 October 2004 prior to her official retirement in mid-2005. Chris Libreri (Director NCSU) notes that Jeanette's wise counsel is one of the rocks that the NCSU has been built upon, her support of the concept of national crime statistics and the respect she has within the jurisdictions and the wider research community have enabled many chievements. It will be very difficult to replace Jeanette as she has that great mix of knowledge, experience, innovation and communication, as well as a wicked sense of humour.

Mr Guy Bowra (WA Department of Justice) recently relinquished his role as the Chair of the Court's Practitioner's Group (CPG), he is taking up a new role overseeing specialist courts in WA. Guy was the inaugural Chair of the CPG which has been active for three years and has made an exceptional contribution to the quality, integration and development of all Courts statistics. Guy will be replaced as Chair of the CPG by Noel Moloney of Courts Victoria.

National Crime and Safety Survey - Confidentialised Unit Record File

The Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) for the 2002 National Crime and Safety Survey (NCSS) was released on 31 March, 2004.

Further information about access to the CURF is available on the ABS web site, as is an Information Paper (cat. no. 4524.0.55.001) which contains information about the NCSS, the micro-data in the CURF and access to the CURF via the remote access data laboratory.

For queries regarding access to the CURF, please email <curf.management@abs.gov.au>. Should you have any queries regarding the NCSS or CURF data, please direct them to <crime.justice@abs.gov.au>.

National Statistical Service

The National Statistical Service (NSS) web site <www.nss.gov.au> was released in May 2004. The web site is designed to support both producers and users of statistics. For producers it provides assistance in the collection, processing and dissemination of data, including resources on best practice and links to statistical training. For users it provides assistance in identifying statistical information suitable to their needs.

The first release of the web site provides a core set of resources, these include:
  • NSS Handbook and Key Principles
  • directories of statistical sources
  • published Information Development Plans
  • statistical training offered by government agencies
  • papers on statistical best practice
  • concepts, classifications and data dictionaries.

Future releases of the web site will expand on the core set of resources as well as including a Directory of Statistical Sources search portal and several statistical discussion forums.

Introduction of a new ABS product numbering system

The ABS will introduce a new product numbering system in early 2005. The new system is required to support current and emerging business requirements. The new system incorporates a 5-digit product identifier and a 2-character extension.

All currently catalogued products will be renumbered. The product numbers for the main crime and justice publications will become:

  • 45100PB (was 4510.0)
  • 45120PB (was 4512.0)
  • 45130PB (was 4513.0)
  • 45170PB (was 4517.0).

Where PB refers to printed and electronic format publications.