When an incident of crime victimisation occurs, there are a number of ways in which this can be measured and a number of stages where a measurement can be taken, from the time that a person perceives that they have been a victim through to reporting to police and the laying of charges. From among a range of possible ways of measuring crime, there are two major sources of data produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that can inform the user about crime victimisation. The first of these is a measure of crimes reported to and recorded by police; and the second is direct reports from members of the public about their experiences of crime as collected in ABS household surveys. Neither of these sources will provide a definitive measure of crime victimisation, but together they provide a more comprehensive picture of victimisation than either measure alone. Both sources have a number of limitations, however, of which users should be aware.
Caution should be exercised in making any direct comparisons between recorded crime statistics and data from ABS household surveys due to the different scope and coverage, methods of measurement and sources of error. For more information refer to paragraphs 139-141 of the Explanatory Notes.
For ease of reading, some terms have been abbreviated throughout this publication. The offence category 'unlawful entry with intent/burglary, break and enter' has been abbreviated to 'unlawful entry with intent', and 'homicide and related offences' has been abbreviated to 'homicide'.