4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2008-09 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/03/2010   
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March 12, 2010
Embargoed: 11.30 am (AEDT)

More children in Australia's Courts: ABS

The number of defendants finalised in Australia's Children's Courts rose by 7% in 2008-09, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Increases were recorded in all states and territories, except Queensland. The largest increases were in Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory (20%, 19% and 18% respectively).

Theft offences represented one fifth of the 34,200 adjudicated defendants, followed by acts intended to cause injury (18%) and traffic offences (13%).

The figures showed that nine in ten defendants convicted of an offence were sentenced to a non-custodial order.

The adult court system

The number of defendants finalised in the adult courts increased by 3% (to 653,133 defendants).

Traffic offences accounted for roughly half (264,800) of defendants adjudicated in the Magistrates Courts, followed by public order offences (12%). Nearly a third (29%) of those charged with traffic offences were under 25.

In the Higher Courts nearly a quarter (22%) of adjudicated defendants were charged with acts intended to cause injury, followed by drug offences (20%) and sexual assault (16%).

Further information is in Criminal Courts, Australia (cat. no. 4513.0), available for free download from the ABS website at www.abs.gov.au.

Media Note: Adjudicated refers to defendants finalised based on a judgement or decision by the courts as to a person's guilt of the charges laid against them. Offences relate to a defendants most serious charge.

When reporting on ABS data, please attribute either the Australian Bureau of Statistics or ABS as the source.