4510.0 - Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia, 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/07/2017   
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The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) maintains national collections on crime victimisation from two different sources: administrative records, such as data from state and territory police agencies; and household surveys. While these collections contain data about closely related concepts, in practice, survey data and administrative data are quite different.

At times, the results from different administrative and survey data sources may create divergent pictures of crime in the community. There is no single data source that is able to provide all the information required to build a full picture of crime victimisation in Australia. Rather, there are multiple sources of information which provide data on different aspects of victimisation.

Generally, the administrative data sources provide a view of crime victimisation that has been brought to the attention of the Criminal Justice System and may subsequently become the focus of investigation and other police actions. Generally, survey data sources provide greater content coverage and detail and are better suited to analysis that requires extensive use of demographic variables or a national level focus.

The following table summarises the key differences between two separate but complementary sources of ABS crime victimisation data: Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia (cat. no. 4510.0) and Crime Victimisation, Australia (cat. no. 4530.0).

Recorded Crime - Victims, AustraliaCrime Victimisation, Australia


What is the primary purpose of data collection?
The administrative data about victims of selected criminal offences is supplied by the state and territory police agencies. The data is collected for the primary purpose of operational policing and the business requirements of the policing agency, rather than for purely statistical purposes. As such, data collections is shaped by the different business practices of each policing agency and the environment and context in which they operate.Data is collected for purely statistical purposes and involves the ABS directly seeking responses from a sample of Australian households about experiences of a range of criminal offences, and opinions about other crime and justice-related topics. One of the key purposes of the crime victimisation survey is to measure the amount of crime not reported to or detected by police.

Data source and content coverage

Where does the data come from?
Statistics are derived from information that has been recorded by police in administrative systems which are maintained by police agencies within each state and territory. Data are gathered through reports of crime made to police from members of the public, or through independent police detection.Statistics are derived from a sample survey of individuals in the community regarding their perceived experiences of crime. Data are collected directly from members of the public through a telephone interview (with a face-to-face option available). Survey respondents are requested to report all experiences of the behaviours specified in the questions including incidents that were not reported to police.

Offence Definitions

How are offence categories defined?
Offence definitions are based around legal definitions of crime as embodied in state/territory criminal codes. State/territory offence definitions are then mapped onto a classificatory framework, the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC), to achieve uniformity across the different jurisdictions. Both completed and attempted offences (i.e. those where the intent is not fulfilled) are included.Offence definitions are based around behavioural definitions of particular offence types as described in survey questions. Respondents are asked whether they’ve experienced particular behaviours, as opposed to specific offence categories e.g. ‘Since this time last year, did anyone, including people you know well, use physical force or violence against you?’

Counting unit

What is being counted?
The counting unit is the victim, expressed as a raw victim count. A victim is counted each time an individual experiences a particular offence as part of a distinct criminal incident recorded by police. If an individual experiences the same offence on two separate and unrelated occasions, two victims of the particular offence are counted. Similarly, if a victim experiences two different types of offences in the same incident, for example a sexual assault and a robbery, they will be counted twice, once against each offence type. As a result, an individual may be counted as a victim more than once, and therefore a count of the total number of victims is not available.The counting unit is the unique person, expressed as an estimate. It represents the number of estimated unique persons that have experienced a particular offence at least once. Raw sample counts are weighted to produce estimates for the entire in-scope Australian population, with each estimate having a corresponding measure of reliability (standard error).

Reference period

What period of time does the data cover?
Includes all incidents of crime reported to or detected by police in a calendar year (1st January to 31st December). This includes historical incidents that occurred prior to the reference period but only came to the attention of police during the reference period.Respondents are asked about their experiences of selected crime types during the 12 month period immediately prior to the interview. The sample is accumulated over a year, from July to the following June so the 12 month period may not be the same for all respondents. In effect, the survey data reflect a rolling 12 month period, covering incidents experienced over a period of almost two years. See Measuring Victims of Crime: A Guide to Using Administrative and Survey data, June 2011 (cat. no. 4500.0.55.001) for further detail.


Who is being counted?
The age scope is unrestricted and includes victims of all ages. The geographic scope includes all areas under state/territory police jurisdiction. Jervis Bay Territory and other areas under Australian Federal Police jurisdiction are excluded.The age scope is restricted to persons aged 15 years and over, excluding members of the permanent defence forces, certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments usually excluded from census and estimated resident populations, overseas residents in Australia, members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants), households in Indigenous communities, and people living in non-private dwellings.