4500.0 - Crime and Justice News, 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/08/2008   
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The second edition of the Australian Standard Offence Classification 2008 (Second Edition) (ASOC) (cat. no. 1234.0) was released on 1 August 2008. This publication provides a uniform national statistical framework for classifying criminal behaviour in the production and analysis of crime and justice statistics in Australia.

The second edition replaces the first edition, released in 1997. The second edition of ASOC reflects the outcomes of a substantial review of the Classification, which included extensive consultation; predominantly with government agencies responsible for policy formation and administration, and non-government analysts of crime and justice issues.

The purpose of the review was to ensure that the Classification remains current and relevant, reflecting changes that have occurred in criminal legislation since the previous version, as well as satisfying user requirements for offence data.


The ABS national Crime and Safety Survey (cat. no. 4509.0) has been conducted on a three yearly basis for a number of years. The most recent results were released in 2005.

The ABS conducted a review of the national crime and safety survey during 2006-07. The review was driven by the need for more timely and regular crime victimisation headline indicators, on an annual basis, and the need for flexibility to cater for new and emerging areas of crime. In order to meet these needs, the ABS will be using a different survey vehicle to conduct the next national crime and safety survey. The new survey will involve telephone rather than mail contact with households, which is considered to be more responsive to meet these needs.

The survey will be conducted using the Multi-Purpose Household Survey (MPHS), a supplementary survey to the Labour Force Survey during 2008-09, and results are expected to be released early 2010. The aim of the annual survey is provide headline measures of the prevalence of a range of selected crimes, reporting rates to police of these crimes and feelings of safety. Subject to funding, the ABS anticipates that a national crime victimisation survey will be conducted on an annual basis.


The ABS is conducting a feasibility study on the identification of federal defendants in the criminal courts system and in corrective services agencies. Federal law has previously been largely limited to drug importation, and tax or welfare fraud. It has now expanded to include high profile offences such as terrorism, child sex tourism and illegal fishing, therefore it is important for jurisdictions to be able to identify federal defendants for policy and legislative development, for the ongoing management of those offenders and for the broader management of criminal justice systems.

The scope of the Federal Defendants project is not only to determine what data is available on who is offending and the trends in offences, but what the results are in terms of sentence outcomes across jurisdictions.

With these data needs in mind, the study is focussing on the types of information that would be useful in this regard and includes demographic information about federal defendants, the types of offences committed, sentences and sentence administration. The aim of this study is to determine whether a nationally comparable set of data about federal defendants is possible.


The National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS), aimed at addressing the lack of a uniform standard in the initial police recording processes, is progressively being implemented in police jurisdictions.

Given that law enforcement is administered separately by each state and territory police agency in Australia, the date of implementing the NCRS will vary across Australia based on operational capacity to implement. Six jurisdictions have commenced implementation, however, the date of implementation varies:

Queensland - June 2007

South Australia - September 2007

Western Australia - January 2007

Tasmania - January 2008

Northern Territory - May 2007

Australian Capital Territory - January 2008

New South Wales and Victoria were expected to have implemented the NCRS in July 2008.

This standard will complement the already established classifications and counting rules for the RCVS collection and improve the level of comparability of recorded crime victims statistics across jurisdictions.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics will host the inaugural NatStats Conference 08 from 19 - 21 November 2008 at the Crown Promenade Hotel, Melbourne.

The conference theme is "Working Together for an Informed Australian Society". The program will look at three main topic areas:

  • Informing the Nation - with sessions on Health, Education and Indigenous Australia;
  • Measuring Progress in Society - with sessions on Measuring Disadvantage, Inequality and Social Inclusion, Measuring Progress in Australia and Community and Local Indicators; and
  • Environmental Information for Informed Decisions - with sessions on Water, Natural Resource Management and Climate Change.

An array of high profile policy and decision makers will be speaking at the conference including:
  • Professor Glyn Davis, Vice Chancellor of the University of Melbourne and co-convenor of the 2020 Summit;
  • Dr Ken Henry, Secretary Treasury;
  • Greg Bourne, CEO, World Wildlife Fund Australia; and
  • Enrico Giovannini, Chief Statistician, OECD.

See the NatStats08 website for the latest program information including the complete list of speakers.

If you would like more information about the conference program please call Mark Lound on 02 6252 6325 or email him at inquiries@nss.gov.au.

Early Bird Registration for NatStats08 is now open - for more information please visit the NatStats08 web site at http://www.nss.gov.au/natstats