4500.0 - Crime and Justice News, Jul 2009  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/07/2009   
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Crime Victimisation surveys

The ABS National Crime and Safety Survey has undergone redevelopment. This survey was previously conducted on a three yearly basis, with the most recent results released in 2005 in Crime and Safety, Australia (cat. no. 4509.0). A review of the survey was conducted by the ABS during 2006-07. The review found a need for more timely and regularly crime victimisation headline indicators, on an annual basis and the need for flexibility to cater for new and emerging areas of crime.

The new National Crime and Safety Survey will now be conducted annual using a different survey vehicle, the Multi-Purpose Household Survey (MPHS), which is run as a supplementary survey to the Labour Force Survey. The survey will be conducted by telephone which is a change from the mail-out mail-back method used in the past. The change in methodology will result in a break in series and data may not be comparable to previous crime and safety results.

The first survey cycle using this new vehicle will be conducted for the 2008-09 reference period, with results expected to be released in February 2009 in Crime Victimisation, Australia (cat. no 4530.0). The aim of the annual survey is to provide headline measure of the prevalence of a range of selected personal and household crimes, reporting rates to police of these crimes and a select range of indicators such as feelings of safety and problems in the neighbourhood. The new vehicle provides flexibility for new and emerging areas of crime to be included and in order to accommodate this, selected crimes and/or attitudinal questions may be rotated off the survey. The content of the 2008-09 will be similar to the content of the 2005 survey in order to provide a new benchmark.

Federal Defendants

The ABS completed a feasibility study to ascertain the viability of identifying federal defendants in the administrative data held by the criminal courts in Australia in April 2008. Test data was obtained during 2008 to assess data quality and results found that the data was sound. Data about federal offenders will now be collected from all states and territories on an ongoing basis commencing with the 2008-09 reference period. First results will be published in the annual Criminal Courts, Australia 2008-09 publication, due for release in January 2010.

The ABS is also assessing the feasibility of identifying federal offenders in Corrective Services.

New developments in Recorded Crime, Victims

The Recorded Crime, Victims - Australia 2008 publication contained expanded information about the Indigenous Status of victims and the relationship of an offender to a victim (ROV) for selected states and territories.

Data on Indigenous victims for a selected range of person offences were presented for three jurisdictions (New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory). Limited data are also available for Queensland on the ABS website. Data for other jurisdictions are not yet of sufficient quality to include in the report, and the ABS continues to work with these jurisdictions to improve the quality of their Indigenous data.

Data about the relationship of an offender to a victim have been re-introduced for selected states and territories in 2008 following improvements to the quality of this data. These data were last published in 2004. Selected offences have been presented where they are of appropriate data quality.

For more information about these data items refer to the publication. Specific details in relation to data quality are available in the Explanatory Notes and Glossary.