Recorded Crime - Offenders

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    NAME OF ORGANISATION
    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    OVERVIEW
    The collection presents information on the number and characteristics of alleged offenders aged 10 years or more who were proceeded against by police during the 12 month reference period (financial year). Offender counts are based on counting a person only once, no matter how many separate times they were proceeded against by police. Characteristics include: age, sex, principal offence, Indigenous status, number of times proceeded against, along with information on police initiated proceedings against offenders.

    PURPOSE
    To provide a measure of the number of alleged offenders who come into contact with the criminal justice system at an early stage in the process, namely the "investigation and charging" stage.

    SCOPE
    The collection covers all alleged offenders aged 10 years and over who had been proceeded against by police during the 12 month reference period (financial year). The scope of the collection excludes the following:

    • person less than 10 years of age;
    • organisations;
    • offences that come under the authority of agencies other than state and territory police such as Environmental Protection Authorities, etc; and
    • proceedings initiated by Australian Federal Police.

    DATA DETAIL

    Conceptual framework
    The collection covers all alleged offenders aged 10 years and over who had been proceeded against by police during the reference period. The scope of the collection excludes the following:

    • person less than 10 years of age;
    • organisations;
    • offences that come under the authority of agencies other than state and territory police such as Environmental Protection Authorities, etc; and
    • proceedings initiated by federal police.

    Main outputs
    The publication presents the following outputs:
    • counts of offenders who had been proceeded against by police
    • demographic data (age and sex)
    • Indigenous status for New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory for 2007-08; with the addition of Queensland from 2008-09.
    • principal offence by age, sex and Indigenous status
    • number of times proceeded against by age, sex and Indigenous status
    • offender rates by age, sex, principal offence and Indigenous status
    • counts of police initiated court and non-court proceedings by principal offence and sex

    Classifications
      The main classifications used to collect and produce data about offenders are:
    • Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC)
    • Method of Proceeding (MoP)
    • National Offence Index (NOI)

      Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC): ANZSOC provides a uniform national framework for classifying offences across Australia and New Zealand for statistical purposes. The classification is a hierarchical structure allowing for varying degrees of detail to be published depending on the level of detail in the source information. Associated with each classification are coding rules which ensure that the counting of information is consistent across states and territories. ANZSOC replaced the previous Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC) in 2011. This was a name change only - the content of the classification remained the same as in the 2008 edition of ASOC.

      The offence information in the 2007-08 issue of this publication related to the 1997 edition of ASOC. The ABS released a revised edition of the ASOC in 2008 (second edition). Offence information on the revised ASOC was implemented for the 2008-09 offenders collection, and included revised 2007-08 data on the revised ASOC basis. For further information about ANZSOC refer Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (cat. no 1234.0).


      Method of Proceeding (MoP): The method of proceeding describes the type of legal action (court or non court) initiated by police against a person. There are two types of legal actions; court and non-court actions. The method of proceeding classification is a hierarchical classification.


      National Offence Index (NOI): NOI is a tool which provides an ordinal ranking of all ANZSOC Groups by perceived seriousness in order to determine a principal offence. The purpose of NOI is to enable the representation of an offender by a single offence in instances where multiple offences occur within the same incident or where offenders offend on more than one occasion in the reference period. For further information about NOI refer National Offence Index, 2009 (cat. no 1234.0.55.001).


    Other concepts (summary)

    Date of Action: Data are compiled on the basis of the date that police took action or proceeded against an offender (e.g. the date the offender was charged, the date the offender was cautioned etc). The date the offender was proceeded against by police may not be the date when the offence occurred, or the date when the offender came to the attention of police. In some jurisdictions the data may reflect the date of record creation rather than date of action, however, this does not have a significant impact on the comparability of data across jurisdictions for offenders as there are no major lags between the two dates.

    Offender counts: For the offender population, an offender is only counted once irrespective of how many offences they committed within the one incident or how many times they were dealt with by police throughout the reference period. These counts include offenders proceeded against via both court and non-court actions.

    Police proceeding counts: For the police initiated proceeding population an offender is counted once for each time they are proceeded against by police during the reference period.

    Principal offence: Offence information presented in this publication relates to the principal offence allegedly committed by an individual offender during the reference period. These statistics are not designed to provide a count of the total number of individual offences that come to the attention of police.

    - For the offender counts, where a single offence is processed by police on a single date, the offender is assigned that offence as their principal offence. Where multiple offences are committed within the same incident on a single date by an offender, the offender is assigned a principal offence based on the most serious offence within the ABS National Offence Index (NOI). Offenders proceeded against by police on more than one occasion in the reference period are also assigned a principal offence on this same basis.

    - For the police initiated proceeding counts, offenders who are proceeded against more than once in the reference period are assigned a principal offence for each separate date of police action.

    GEOGRAPHIC DETAIL
    Australia
    New South Wales
    Victoria
    Queensland
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Tasmania
    Northern Territory
    ACT

    Comments and/or Other Regions
    For the initial release of 4519.0 relating to the 2007-08 reference period, data for Western Australia was not available, and therefore there was no national data. For the 2008-09 issue, national 2007-08 data was included, along with 2008-09 data.

    For the 2011-12 issue of this publication, data for offenders proceeded against under the NSW Young Offenders Act 1997 were not able to be provided to the ABS, and were not included in the data presented for New South Wales. In October 2013, however, an amendment to the Act was passed through NSW Parliament. The amendment allowed data for offenders proceeded against under the NSW Young Offenders Act 1997 to be provided to the ABS. Data for these offenders were included in the 2012-13 issue for the reference periods 2008-09 to 2012-13.

    The Cocos and Keeling Islands are not included in the Australian totals. As Jervis Bay Territory is under the jurisdiction of the AFP, it is not included in the totals for the ACT or for Australia.

    COLLECTION FREQUENCY
    Annually

    Frequency comments


    COLLECTION HISTORY
    Although a CMS profile exists for the 2002-03 cycle, the publication was never released as it was decided that further work was required to understand some concerns relating to scope and coverage and juridictional capacity to provide data according to the statistical requirements of the collection.

    The 2007-08 reference period represents the first issue to be released for the collection. As data for Western Australia was not able to be extracted in accordance with the statistical requirements of the collection, no national totals were available for the 2007-08 issue. Indigenous status data was provided for New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory; based on an ABS assessment Indigenous status data for the other jurisdictions was not considered to be of sufficient quality to meet national reporting requirements.

    From the 2008-09 cycle, national data became available for offender counts but proceedings data was not published for Western Australia due to data quality concerns. National offender data for 2007-08 was possible with the release of the 2008-09 issue of the publication as Western Australia provided data for the 2007-08 period.

    Investigations were undertaken into the quality of non-court proceedings data as part of the 2008-09 processing cycle. As a consequence of the investigation, the quality of the non-court data presented at the aggregate level was considered to be comparable across all jurisdictions and a decision made to include both court and non-court proceedings counts in the publication.

      For the 2011-12 issue, data for offenders proceeded against under the NSW Young Offenders Act 1997 were not able to be provided to the ABS, and were not included in the data presented for New South Wales. This meant it was not possible to produce national data. In October 2013, however, an amendment to the Act was passed through NSW Parliament. The amendment allowed data for offenders proceeded against under the NSW Young Offenders Act 1997 to be provided to the ABS. Data for these offenders were included in the 2012-13 issue for the reference periods 2008-09 to 2012-13. As a consequence, NSW data were on a consistent basis to the other states and territories, and national data were able to be produced.

    DATA AVAILABILITY
    Yes

    Data availability comments
    The Recorded Crime - Offenders collection is a financial year collection and statistics are released annually within 9 months of the reference date. The publication 'Recorded Crime - Offenders' is web only (no PDF), and released with a set of Data Cubes. The Data Cubes contain the data tables upon which the publication is based. The publication and Data Cubes are available from the ABS website free of charge.

    Special data requests are available on a fee-for-service basis through the ABS' National Information and Referral Service (Ph: 1300 135 070), or by email to crime.justice@abs.gov.au.


    DATE OF LAST UPDATE FOR THIS DOCUMENT
    24/07/2014 03:05 PM