CRIME AND JUSTICE STATISTICS
The Crime and Justice Statistics Program leads national statistical activity aimed at developing and improving information in this field. The program covers the activities of the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics comprising three separate user-funded statistical units: the National Crime Statistics Unit; the National Criminal Courts Statistics Unit; and the National Corrective Services Statistics Unit. These units compile and publish national statistics on recorded crime, courts and corrections, and work to improve the quality of these collections in cooperation with statistical practitioners in the jurisdictions.
The ABS also undertakes a survey program in the field of crime and justice statistics. This includes special purpose surveys aimed at producing rates of victimisation for personal and household crimes, and information on the experience and consequences of crime; as well as more general surveys aimed at understanding the experience of crime within a broader social context.
The main clients of this program are the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department, state and territory agencies responsible for police services, courts administration and corrective services, and organisations undertaking criminal justice research.
The main outputs of the program are:
- indicators of the level and nature of recorded crime victimisation in Australia presented annually in Recorded Crime – Victims, Australia (ABS cat. no. 4510.0)
- annual survey-based victimisation information for selected personal and household offences, and information on feelings of personal safety, presented in Crime Victimisation, Australia (ABS cat. no. 4530.0)
- characteristics of alleged offenders who have been proceeded against by police, including offence information, available annually from 2007–08 in Recorded Crime – Offenders, Australia (ABS cat. no. 4519.0)
- characteristics of defendants, including information on their offences and sentences, available annually in Criminal Courts, Australia (ABS cat. no. 4513.0) and characteristics of federal defendants available annually in Federal Defendants, Australia (ABS cat. no. 4515.0)
- information from the National Prisoner Census on people held in adult prisons, including their characteristics, sentence lengths and offences for which they are imprisoned, published annually in Prisoners in Australia (ABS cat. no. 4517.0)
- quarterly Corrective Services, Australia (ABS cat. no. 4512.0), which presents information on numbers and rates of people in custody and those serving community-based corrections orders
- outputs to promote national standards for crime and justice statistics; recent examples include revised classifications such as the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification and the National Offence Index, the development of a national crime recording standard for police statistics, and the family and domestic violence conceptual framework
- outputs to explore different ways of looking at crime and justice statistics, through publication of short articles in the Crime and Justice In Focus series (ABS cat. no. 4524.0)
- outputs to promote the effective use of crime and justice statistics, such as the Directory of Family Violence Statistics (ABS cat. no. 4533.0) and the Information Paper: Measuring Victims of Crime: A Guide to Using Administrative and Survey data (ABS cat. no. 4500.0.55.001).
The main medium-term developments in the program are to:
- develop a reappearance indicator for the criminal courts - due 2013-14
- undertake topic development for the annual crime victimisation survey program - ongoing
- in collaboration with data providers, improve the range, quality and availability of data collected through administrative systems in police, courts and corrective services sectors with a focus on improving Indigenous identification - ongoing
- support evidence base development projects across crime and justice areas through assistance and advice to related agencies in key areas of statistical need such as family and domestic violence and the civil justice system - ongoing
- support efforts to improve information on substance use, sub-state geography and mental health in relation to crime, justice and recidivism - ongoing
Tom Joseph, Assistant Statistician, Crime and Justice Statistics
Topics @ a Glance - National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics