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Crime Victimisation, Australia methodology

Reference period
2019-20 financial year

Overview

This publication contains results from the Crime Victimisation Survey (CVS), a topic on the Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS) conducted throughout Australia from July 2019 to June 2020. The MPHS, undertaken each financial year by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), is a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) and is designed to collect statistics for a number of small, self-contained topics.

The survey collected details about the prevalence of a selected range of personal and household crimes, including the socio-demographic characteristics of persons experiencing the selected crimes, experiences of repeat victimisation, and the characteristics of the most recent incident of each crime type experienced. Some estimates from previous iterations of the survey are also included in this publication. Labour force characteristics, education, income and other demographics was also collected.

Data collection

Scope

The scope of the survey was restricted to people aged 15 years and over who were usual residents of private dwellings and excludes:

  • members of the Australian permanent defence forces
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from Census and estimated resident population counts
  • overseas residents in Australia
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants)
  • persons living in non-private dwellings such as hotels, university residences, boarding schools, hospitals, nursing homes, homes for people with disabilities, and prisons
  • persons resident in the Indigenous Community Strata (ICS).

The scope for MPHS included households residing in urban, rural, remote and very remote parts of Australia, except the ICS.

Coverage

In the LFS, rules are applied which aim to ensure that each person in coverage is associated with only one dwelling, and hence has only one chance of selection in the survey. See Labour Force, Australia for more detail.

Collection method

The survey is one of a number of small, self-contained topics on the MPHS.

Each month, one eighth of the dwellings in the LFS sample were rotated out of the survey and selected for the MPHS. After the LFS had been fully completed for each person in scope and coverage, a usual resident aged 15 years or over was selected at random (based on a computer algorithm) and asked the additional MPHS questions in a personal interview. 

In the MPHS, if the randomly selected person was aged 15 to 17 years, permission was sought from a parent or guardian before conducting the interview. If permission was not given, the parent or guardian was asked the questions on behalf of the 15 to 17 year old (proxy interview). Questions relating to sexual assault and the involvement of alcohol or substances in the most recent incident of physical assault and face-to-face threatened assault were not asked of proxy respondents or persons aged 15 to 17 years.

Data were collected using Computer Assisted Interviewing (CAI), whereby responses were recorded directly onto an electronic questionnaire in a notebook computer, with interviews conducted either face-to-face or over the telephone. The majority of interviews were conducted over the telephone.

Sample size

After taking into account sample loss, the response rate for the 2019-20 survey was 76.4%. In total, information was collected from 29,793 fully responding persons. This includes 494 proxy interviews for people aged 15 to 17 years, where permission was not given by a parent or guardian for a personal interview.

Data processing

Weighting

Weighting is the process of adjusting results from a sample survey to infer results for the total 'in-scope' population. To do this, a 'weight' is allocated to each enumerated person. The weight is a value which indicates the number of persons in the population represented by the sample person.

The first step in calculating weights for each unit is to assign an initial weight, which is the inverse of the probability of being selected in the survey. For example, if the probability of a person being selected in the survey was 1 in 600, then the person would have an initial weight of 600 (that is, they represent 600 people).

    Benchmarks

    The initial weights were calibrated to align with independent estimates of the population of interest, referred to as 'benchmarks'. Weights calibrated against population benchmarks ensure that the survey estimates conform to the independently estimated distribution of the population rather than the distribution within the sample itself. Calibration to population benchmarks helps to compensate for over or under-enumeration of particular categories of persons/households which may occur due to either the random nature of sampling or non-response.

    For household estimates, the MPHS was benchmarked to independently calculated estimates of the total number of households in Australia. The MPHS estimates do not (and are not intended to) match estimates for the total Australian person/household populations obtained from other sources.

    The survey was benchmarked to the Estimated Resident Population (ERP) living in private dwellings in each state and territory at December 2019. People living in Indigenous communities were excluded. These benchmarks are based on the 2016 Census.

    While LFS benchmarks are revised every 5 years, to take into account the outcome of the 5-yearly rebasing of the ERP following the latest Census, the supplementary surveys and MPHS (from which the statistics in this publication are taken) are not. Small differences will therefore exist between the civilian population aged 15 years and over reflected in the LFS and other labour household surveys estimates, as well as over time. If comparisons are being made over time then proportions should be used rather than estimates of persons.

      Estimation

      Survey estimates of counts of persons are obtained by summing the weights of persons with the characteristic of interest.

        Confidentiality

        To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique is used to randomly adjust cell values. This technique is called perturbation. Perturbation involves a small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics. After perturbation, a given published cell value will be consistent across all tables. However, adding up cell values to derive a total will not necessarily give the same result as published totals.

        Perturbation has been applied to Crime Victimisation Survey datasets since 2013-14. Data from previous cycles (2008-09 to 2012-13) have not been perturbed, but underwent a different confidentialisation method to protect the confidentiality of respondents.

        Reliability of estimates

        All sample surveys are subject to error which can be broadly categorised as either sampling error or non-sampling error. For more information refer to the Accuracy section.

          Data quality

          Crime victimisation surveys are best suited to measuring crimes against specific individuals or households. Respondents need to be aware of and recall what happened to them and how it happened, as well as be willing to relate what they know to interviewers.

          Not all types of crime are suitable for measurement by household surveys. No reliable information can be obtained about crimes without specific victims, such as trafficking in narcotics. Crimes of which a person may not be aware cannot be measured effectively through a household survey, for example crimes involving deception. It may also be difficult to obtain information about some crimes, such as sexual offences and assault committed by other household or family members, due to the sensitivity of the crime and an increased reluctance to disclose. Some of these crimes may not be fully represented in the data collected. Household survey data exclude crimes against commercial establishments or government agencies.

          This survey covered only selected types of personal and household crimes and does not represent all crime in Australia. Personal crimes covered in the survey were physical assault, threatened assault (face-to-face and non-face-to-face), robbery and sexual assault. Household crimes covered were break-in, attempted break-in, motor vehicle theft, theft from a motor vehicle, malicious property damage and other theft.

          Information collected in this survey is essentially 'as reported' by respondents and hence may differ from that which might be obtained from other surveys or administrative data sources. This factor should be considered when interpreting the estimates and when making comparisons with other data sources.

          Experiences of family and domestic violence

          There is limited information available in this publication about family and domestic violence. The Crime Victimisation Survey collects information about experiences of personal violence and the relationship between the victim and perpetrator, however this information alone is not sufficient to reliably measure the number of people who have experienced family and domestic violence.

          The Crime Victimisation Survey collects incident characteristics information, including relationship to the perpetrator, only for the most recent incident of each type of personal crime experienced in the 12 months prior to interview. This means that not all experiences of personal violence by each relationship type - including current and previous partners - are captured in the survey. In addition, as interviews are conducted by telephone in the respondent’s home, there is no requirement for a private interview setting for the Crime Victimisation Survey (as is the case for the ABS’s Personal Safety Survey). This non-private setting means respondents may be less likely to disclose any experiences of violence by their partner if their partner is present in the home at the time of interview. As a result, the statistics on relationship type available in this publication cannot be used to draw conclusions about the prevalence of family and domestic violence in Australia.

          Due to the ongoing relationship between victim and perpetrator, family and domestic violence is often a recurring event, and the protracted nature of this violence cannot be reliably measured within the framework of the Crime Victimisation Survey. Further information about defining and measuring family and domestic violence is available in Defining the Data Challenge for Family Domestic and Sexual Violence and statistics are available in Personal Safety, AustraliaDirectory of Family, Domestic, and Sexual Violence Statistics, 2018, and Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia.

          Statistical measures of crime victimisation

          The level of victimisation can be measured and expressed in more than one way. The most common measure derived from crime victimisation surveys is prevalence, that is, the number of the relevant population that have experienced a given crime at least once in the reference period. Victimisation rates used in this publication represent the prevalence of selected crimes in Australia, and are expressed as a percentage of the total relevant population. Reporting rates used in this publication are expressed as the percentage of persons/households whose most recent incident of each type of crime had been reported to the police.

          Other methodological issues

          When interpreting data from this survey, consideration should be given to the representativeness of the survey sample in relation to the entire in-scope population. This is affected by the response rate and scope and coverage rules. For example, people living in boarding houses, refuges or on the streets are excluded from this survey and may experience different levels of victimisation than those surveyed who live in private dwellings.

          Classifications

          Country of birth

          Country of birth data are classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016

          Education

          Education data are coded to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001. The ASCED is a national standard classification which can be applied to all sectors of the Australian education system including schools, vocational education and training and higher education. The ASCED comprises two classifications: Level of Education and Field of Education.

          Equivalised weekly household income

          Equivalised weekly household income is household income adjusted by the application of an equivalence scale to facilitate comparison of income levels between households of differing size and composition, reflecting that a larger household would normally need more income than a smaller household to achieve the same standard of living. Using an equivalising factor for household income enables the direct comparison of the relative economic well-being of households of different size and composition (for example, lone person households, families and group households of unrelated individuals).

          For more information about equivalised weekly household income see Household Income and Wealth, Australia and Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia.

          Socio-economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)

          This survey uses the 2016 Socio-economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA).  

          SEIFA is a suite of four summary measures that have been created from 2016 Census information. Each index summarises a different aspect of the socio-economic conditions of people living in an area. The indexes provide more general measures of socio-economic status than is given by measures such as income or unemployment alone.

          For each index, every geographic area in Australia is given a SEIFA number which shows how disadvantaged that area is compared with other areas in Australia.

          Two indexes are used in this publication the Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage; and the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage. These measures are derived from Census variables related to income, educational attainment, unemployment, occupational skill level and whether a dwelling has a motor vehicle.

          SEIFA uses a broad definition of relative socio-economic disadvantage in terms of people's access to material and social resources, and their ability to participate in society. While SEIFA represents an average of all people living in an area, it does not represent the individual situation of each person. Larger areas are more likely to have greater diversity of people and households.

          For more detail, and for the SEIFA 2016 Technical paper (under Downloads), go to Census of Population and Housing: Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), Australia, 2016.

          Comparing the data

          Comparability of time series

          As a similar methodology has been adopted for the surveys, data on the prevalence of personal and household crimes is comparable across the survey periods. This has enabled some time series comparisons to be made in this publication.

          Comparability with police statistics

          Data for selected crimes reported to and recorded by police agencies in a calendar year are available in Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia. The Crime Victimisation Survey provides an additional source of data on crime victimisation for the selected crimes, including crime not reported to or detected by police. This survey identifies the nature of this unreported crime, as well as giving information about experiences of repeat victimisation. The information from the survey should be viewed as complementary to police recorded crime statistics.

          The terms used for the crimes (such as robbery and physical assault) may not necessarily correspond with the legal or police definitions used. This is because responses obtained in this survey are based on the respondent's perception of the behaviours they experienced. The definitions of terms used in the publication are based on the wording of the questions asked of the respondent and specifications provided to interviewers. Definitions of crime types included in this survey can be found in the Glossary.

          The Crime Victimisation Survey collects information on crimes that were reported to police, as well as crimes that went unreported. In this publication, reporting rates are based on whether or not the most recent incident of each crime type experienced in the 12 months prior to interview was reported to police. Interviews were conducted over a 12 month period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020. The actual reference period for a particular respondent was determined by the date of their interview. There is no way of verifying that a crime was reported to police, where the respondent indicated that police were informed.

          Another source of variation between the survey results and crimes recorded by police relates to differences in scope. This survey collects information on the personal crimes of physical assault, threatened assault (face-to-face and non-face-to-face), and robbery for all persons aged 15 years and over, and sexual assault for persons aged 18 years and over. In contrast, police statistics include victims of all ages, and any comparisons should take this into consideration. Furthermore, police statistics for a given reference period may include criminal incidents that came to the attention of police during the reference period, but did not occur during it.

          Due to differences between collections, caution should be exercised when comparing data from surveys and administrative by-product collections that relate to crime and justice topics. For more information on comparisons between sources, please refer to Measuring Victims of Crime: A Guide to Using Administrative and Survey data, June 2011.

          Comparability to monthly LFS statistics

          Since the survey is conducted as a supplement to the LFS, data items collected in the LFS are also available in this publication. However, there are some important differences between the two surveys. The LFS had a response rate of over 90% compared to the MPHS response rate of 76.4%. The scope of the Crime Victimisation Survey and the LFS also differ (refer to these sections above). Due to the differences between the samples, data from this survey and the LFS are weighted separately. Differences may therefore be found in the estimates for those data items collected in the LFS and published as part of the Crime Victimisation Survey.

          Comparability with other ABS surveys

          Caution should be taken when comparing across ABS surveys and with administrative by-product data that relate to crime and justice issues. Estimates from the Crime Victimisation Survey may differ from those obtained in other surveys (such as the Personal Safety Survey, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, and General Social Survey) due to differences in survey mode, methodology and questionnaire design.

          Data pooling

          This edition of the CVS publication presents, for the first time, pooled data on victimisation and reporting estimates at the state and territory level. Data pooling is a statistical technique in which data from multiple survey cycles are combined together to produce more reliable estimates. This effectively increases the sample size of the data set and allows for the production of more robust estimates by decreasing the associated sampling error. For the CVS, this has particular utility for improving the reliability of estimates for less populous states and territories, and lower prevalence crime types such as robbery and sexual assault. The pooled data have been provided in addition to the existing time series estimates and can be found in Tables 28-33.

          The pooled estimates in this release were derived by combining data from consecutive CVS reference periods (survey cycles) and dividing the weights by the number of cycles that were pooled.  The estimates therefore do not correspond to one particular survey cycle but instead are an average of the estimates over the pooled reference period. Two-year pooled estimates were deemed suitable for the majority of personal and household crimes. In the case of sexual assault however, three survey iterations were required to produce meaningful estimates at the jurisdiction level, due to the relatively low prevalence of this crime in Australia.

          CVS data have been pooled based on an assessment of the survey’s comparability and consistency over cycles.  Each CVS iteration is conducted on an independent sample of the same population, and the population characteristics and variables of interest have not changed substantially from one survey to the next. Survey questions regarding victimisation and reporting have remained consistent since the first CVS in 2008-09. Successive CVS iterations have also had similar survey design, scope and coverage, enumeration period and weighting method, indicating a high level of conceptual similarity between surveys.

          The pooled reference periods have been labelled according to the survey cycles they are composed of. As such, the 2008-10 pooled period combines data from the 2008-09 and 2009-10 CVS cycles and therefore spans the time interval from July 2008 to June 2010. However, while the pooled estimates draw on data from multiple years, they do not reflect the incidence of violence over the pooled period but instead are based on respondents’ experience of crime over the 12 months prior to interview. For example, the 2018-20 pooled victimisation estimate for physical assault averages the number of persons from the 2018-19 and 2019-20 CVS cycles who reported experiencing physical assault over the last 12 months.

          To provide data users with the greatest amount of flexibility, rolling time series estimates have been provided in the pooled data tables. The rolling estimates combine consecutive periods of a survey so that a survey year can be used in multiple estimates. For example, the 2009-10 CVS cycle has been combined with the 2008-09 cycle to produce the 2008-10 pooled estimate, and with the 2010-11 cycle to produce the 2009-11 estimate. While rolling estimates produce the greatest amount of time points (compared to a non-overlapping approach, in which a survey’s data is used for only one pooled estimate), caution should be used when comparing estimates with overlapping data. These estimates will not be independent due to the overlap in survey years, which can make analysis and interpretation of the data more difficult. The state and territory section of the commentary includes comparisons between the first (2008-10) and last (2018-20) pooled estimates in the time series. Comparisons to the most recent non-overlapping time period (2016-18) are also discussed.

          The estimates in the pooled data tables have not been perturbed, in contrast to estimates in the other publication tables. Instead a different confidentiality measure has been applied and some cells have been suppressed (though included in the totals where applicable), to minimise the risk of identifying individuals. The use of a different confidentiality measure means that some pooled estimates may be higher or lower than both of the previously published single-year estimates that make up the pooled data.

          Data release

          Data cubes/spreadsheets 

          Data cubes containing all tables for this publication in Excel spreadsheet format are available from the Data downloads section of the main publication. The spreadsheets present tables of estimates and proportions, and their corresponding relative standard errors (RSEs).

          As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may be able to provide other relevant data on request. Subject to confidentiality and sampling variability constraints, tables can be tailored to individual requirements for a fee. A list of data items from this survey is available from the Data downloads section. All enquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070, or email client.services@abs.gov.au 

          Accuracy

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          Reliability of the estimates

          The estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from a sample survey. Any data collection may encounter factors, known as non-sampling error, which can impact on the reliability of the resulting statistics. In addition, the reliability of estimates based on sample surveys are also subject to sampling variability. That is, the estimates may differ from those that would have been produced had all persons in the population been included in the survey. This is known as sampling error.

          Non-sampling error

          Non-sampling error is caused by factors other than those related to sample selection. It is any factor that results in the data values not accurately reflecting the true value of the population.

          It can occur at any stage throughout the survey process. Examples include:

          • selected people that do not respond (e.g. refusals, non-contact) 
          • questions being misunderstood
          • responses being incorrectly recorded
          • errors in coding or processing the survey data. 

          Sampling error

          Sampling error is the expected difference that can occur between the published estimates and the value that would have been produced if the whole population had been surveyed. Sampling error is the result of random variation and can be estimated using measures of variance in the data.

          Standard error

          One measure of sampling error is the standard error (SE). There are about two chances in three that an estimate will differ by less than one SE from the figure that would have been obtained if the whole population had been included. There are about 19 chances in 20 that an estimate will differ by less than two SEs.

          Relative standard error

          The relative standard error (RSE) is obtained by expressing the standard error as a percentage of the estimate.

          \(R S E \%=\left(\frac{S E}{e s t i m a t e}\right) \times 100\)

          Only estimates with RSEs less than 25% are considered reliable for most purposes. Estimates with larger RSEs, between 25% and less than 50% have been included in the publication, but are flagged to indicate that they should be used with caution. Estimates with RSEs of 50% or more have also been flagged and are considered unreliable for most purposes. RSEs for these estimates are not published.

          Calculating measures of error

          Proportions and percentages formed from the ratio of two estimates are also subject to sampling errors. The size of the error depends on the accuracy of both the numerator and the denominator. A formula to approximate the RSE of a proportion is given below. This formula is only valid when the numerator (x) is a subset of the denominator (y):

          \( \operatorname{RSE}\left(\frac{x}{y}\right) \approx \sqrt{[R S E(x)]^{2}-[R S E(y)]^{2}}\)

          When calculating measures of error, it may be useful to convert RSE to SE. This allows the use of standard formulas involving the SE. The SE can be obtained from RSE using the following formula:

          \(S E(y)=\frac{R S E(y) \times y}{100}\)

          Calculating differences

          The difference between two survey estimates (counts or percentages) can also be calculated from published estimates. Such an estimate is also subject to sampling error. The sampling error of the difference between two estimates depends on their SEs and the relationship (correlation) between them. An approximate SE of the difference between two estimates (x-y) may be calculated by the following formula:

          \(S E(x-y) \approx \sqrt{[S E(x)]^{2}+[S E(y)]^{2}}\)

          While this formula will only be exact for differences between separate and uncorrelated characteristics or sub populations, it provides a good approximation for the differences likely to be of interest in this publication.

          Significance testing

          When comparing estimates between surveys or between populations within a survey, it is useful to determine whether apparent differences are 'real' differences or simply the product of differences between the survey samples. 

          One way to examine this is to determine whether the difference between the estimates is statistically significant. This is done by calculating the standard error of the difference between two estimates (x and y) and using that to calculate the test statistic using the formula below. 

          \(\left(\frac{|x-y|}{S E(x-y)}\right)\)

          where:

          \(S E(y)=\frac{R S E(y) \times y}{100}\)

          If the value of this test statistic is greater than 1.96 we can say there is good evidence of a statistically significant difference at 95% confidence levels between the two populations with respect to that characteristic. Otherwise, it cannot be stated with confidence that there is a real difference between the populations.

          Significant differences identified by the ABS have been annotated with a footnote in select published tables. In all other tables which do not show the results of significance testing, users should take RSEs into account when comparing estimates for different populations, or undertake significance testing using the formula provided to determine whether there is a statistically significant difference between any two estimates.

          Only data with a relative standard error (RSE) of less than 25% are included in the publication commentary, unless otherwise indicated, and any differences between populations and changes over time that are referred to are statistically significant.

          Glossary

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          Alcohol and/or any other substance

          Includes any illegal or legal drugs or mood altering substances that the person believed contributed to the most recent incident of physical assault or face-to-face threatened assault. Other substances include marijuana, cocaine, ice, heroin, ecstasy, steroids, pharmaceuticals, inhalants, kava etc. Either the victim or perpetrator may have been under the influence of alcohol and/or any other substance at the time of the incident. This also includes:

          • incidents that occurred when the victim or perpetrator were ‘hungover’
          • incidents where the victim believed that their drink had been spiked.

          For this survey, only persons aged 18 years and over were asked questions about alcohol and other substance use, and respondents had the option of refusal to answer.

          Attempted break-in

          An incident where an attempt was made to forcibly enter a home or other private residence. Includes attempts to break into a caravan (if the caravan was the person's permanent residence), garage, shed or any detached secure building such as games/hobby rooms or granny flats. Attempted break-in also includes incidents where a person saw someone acting suspiciously around the property, if it was suspected that their intent was to break in and steal property. Excludes any attempted break-in that resulted in an actual break-in (e.g. where someone attempted to break in through a door but then gained entry through a window) and attempted break-in to a motor vehicle.

          Assault

          Includes both physical assault and threatened assault (both face-to-face threatened assault and non-face-to-face threatened assault).

          Balance of state/territory

          Comprises statistical areas outside the Greater Capital City Statistical Areas of states and territories as defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016.

          Break-in

          An act of unauthorised forced entry into a home or other private residence. Includes forced entry to a caravan (if the caravan was the person's permanent residence), garage, shed or any detached secure building such as games/hobby rooms or granny flats. Excludes forced entry into motor vehicles or front or rear yards and incidents where attempts to gain unlawful entry were not successful (see attempted break-in above).

          Capital city

          Refers to the Greater Capital City Statistical Areas of states and territories as defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016.

          Employed

          All people aged 15 years and over who met one of the following criteria during the reference week:

          • Worked for one hour or more for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind, in a job or business or on a farm (employees and owner managers of incorporated or unincorporated enterprises).
          • Worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm (contributing family workers).
          • Were employees who had a job but were not at work and were:
            • away from work for less than four weeks up to the end of the reference week; or
            • away from work for more than four weeks up to the end of the reference week and received pay for some or all of the four week period to the end of the reference week; or
            • away from work as a standard work or shift arrangement; or
            • on strike or locked out; or
            • on workers' compensation and expected to return to their job.
          • Were owner managers who had a job, business or farm, but were not at work.

          Face-to-face threatened assault

          Any verbal and/or physical threat to inflict physical harm, made face-to-face, where the person being threatened believed the threat was likely and able to be carried out. Excludes any incident where the person being threatened did not encounter the perpetrator in person (e.g. threats made via telephone, text message, e-mail, in writing or through social media) – these incidents are counted under non face-to-face threatened assault.

          Family member

          Includes parent, child, sibling or other family member.

          Full-time (employed)

          Employed people who usually worked 35 hours or more a week (in all jobs) and those who, although usually working less than 35 hours a week, worked 35 hours or more during the reference week (i.e. the week before the interview).

          Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSA)

          Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSA) are geographical areas built from Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4), as defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016. They are designed to represent the functional extent of each of the eight State and Territory capital cities. This includes the population within the urban area of the city, as well as people who regularly socialise, shop or work within the city, and live in small towns and rural areas surrounding the city. Within each State and Territory, the area not defined as being part of the Greater Capital City is represented by a Balance of State/Territory region.

          Household

          A group of two or more related or unrelated people who usually reside in the same dwelling, who regard themselves as a household, and who make common provision for food or other essentials for living; or a person living in a dwelling who makes provision for their own food and other essentials for living, without combining with any other person.

          Household crime

          Crimes that were committed with the intent to deprive another person of, or deliberately damage, their personal property. The selected household crimes included in the survey are break-in, attempted break-in, motor vehicle theft, theft from a motor vehicle, malicious property damage and other theft. Includes incidents occurring in all Australian households that the person lived in during the 12 months prior to interview. For the purposes of the survey, the household is considered the victim where anyone living in the household (not only the respondent) may have experienced an incident of household crime during the 12 months prior to interview. Excludes incidents where personal property was stolen by force or threat from a person in the household.

          Incident

          A single occurrence of a crime event, which may involve one or more crime types.

          Intimate partner

          Includes current partner, previous partner, boyfriend/girlfriend/ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend or date.

          Known by sight only

          Where the person recognised the perpetrator(s) by sight only but did not have a personal relationship with them.

          Labour force status

          A classification of the civilian population aged 15 years and over, including employed, unemployed or not in the labour force, as defined in Labour Force, Australia. These definitions conform closely to the international standard definitions adopted by the International Conference of Labour Statisticians.

          Level of highest non-school qualification

          Non-school qualifications are awarded for education attainments other than those of pre-primary, primary or secondary education. They include qualification at the following levels: Postgraduate degree, Master degree, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate, Bachelor degree, Advanced Diploma and Diploma and Certificates I, II, III and IV. Non-school qualifications may be attained concurrently with school qualifications.

          Malicious property damage

          Intentional or wilful (not accidental) damage, defacement or destruction of any part of the person's home or anything usually kept at home. Property is something tangible in nature, including land, conveyances, animals or other objects capable of being privately owned. Destruction can mean any alteration that may render something imperfect or inoperative, including destruction of property, graffiti or vandalism, partial destruction, killing or harming an owned animal and removing or destroying a plant or other part of an owned landscape. Excludes any rental, investment or holiday properties owned by a member of the household. Excludes acts such as turning off water meters and flicking safety switches if no damage to the item occurred.

          Medical attention

          Includes incidents where a person was admitted to hospital and incidents where a person was seen by a doctor or another medical practitioner but not admitted to hospital.

          Motor vehicle parts

          Examples include license plates, tyres, wheels/rims, car audio and DVD equipment.

          Motor vehicle theft

          An incident where a motor vehicle was stolen from any member of the household. This includes cars, SUVs, motorcycles (including motorised scooters), buses, trucks and motor homes. Includes privately owned vehicles and business/employer/company owned vehicles only if the vehicle was used exclusively by members of the household. Excludes vehicles used mainly for business purposes, boats, trailers and company vehicles not used exclusively by household members. For the purpose of this survey, motor vehicle theft incidents are considered to be household crimes.

          Non-face-to-face threatened assault

          Any threat to inflict physical harm where the person being threatened believed the threat was likely and able to be carried out, and where they did not encounter the perpetrator face-to-face (e.g. via telephone, text message, e-mail, in writing or through social media).

          Not in the labour force

          Persons who were neither employed nor unemployed as defined by Labour Force Status.

          Other known person

          Used to describe the relationship of the perpetrator to the victim where the perpetrator was known to the victim, but the relationship did not match any of the known person categories specified in the survey.

          Other theft

          Any unlawful taking of money or goods owned by a household member (other than from motor vehicles owned by a household member) with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the money or goods, without the use or threat of force or violence, coercion or deception. Includes:

          • property belonging to a member of the household not covered by the other types of crime included in the survey
          • property belonging to a household member stolen from a vehicle not owned by a household member
          • property stolen from a yard or garden (e.g. statues or plants).

          Excludes any incidents involving theft covered in other crime types in the survey (e.g. property stolen during a break-in or robbery). Other theft is considered to be a household crime for the purposes of the survey.

          Part-time (employed)

          Employed people who usually worked less than 35 hours a week (in all jobs) and either did so during the reference week (i.e. the week before the interview), or were not at work in the reference week.

          Perpetrator

          A person who commits a crime, as identified by the person who experienced the crime. There may be one or more perpetrators involved in any single crime incident.

          Personal crime

          Crimes that were committed against a person which threatened or caused physical harm to the person. The types of personal crime included in the survey are physical assault, threatened assault (including face-to-face threatened assault and non face-to-face threatened assault), robbery (including attempts), and sexual assault (including attempts).

          Physical assault

          An act of physical force or violence committed by a perpetrator(s) against another person. Examples of physical force or violence include being beaten, pushed, grabbed, shoved, slapped, hit with an open hand or fist, kicked, bitten, choked, stabbed, shot, burnt, being hit with something such as a bat or being dragged or hit deliberately by a vehicle. Includes assault that occurred while the person was at work. Excludes incidents that occurred during the course of play on a sporting field or organised sport, and incidents of sexual assault which also involved physical assault (these are counted under sexual assault).

          Police

          State and territory police agencies. Excludes federal police, except in the Australian Capital Territory.

          Private vehicle

          Any motor vehicle used mainly for private purposes (i.e. non-business purposes).

          Professional relationship

          A relationship where the perpetrator was known to the person primarily through the course of the person's and/or perpetrator’s occupation. Includes where the person was working in a business for which the perpetrator was a client at the time of the incident; relationships between medical professionals and patients; and relationships between police/security officers and perpetrators.

          Public transport or public vehicle

          Includes buses, trains, trams, ferries and taxis.

          Qualification

          Refers to a formal certification, issued by a relevant approved body, in recognition that a person has achieved an appropriate level of learning outcomes or competencies relevant to identified individual, professional, industry or community needs. Excludes statements of attainment awarded for partial completion of a course of study at a particular level.

          Relationship to perpetrator

          Refers to the relationship of the perpetrator to the victim at the time of the incident, as perceived by the victim. More than one response could be provided if there were multiple perpetrators involved in the incident.

          Relative standard error

          A measure of the extent to which an estimate might have varied by chance because only a sample of dwellings was surveyed, and not the entire in-scope population. Relative standard error (RSE) is obtained by expressing the standard error as a percentage of the estimate.

          Reporting rate

          The total number of persons/households that reported the most recent incident of a crime type to police, expressed as a percentage of the total number of persons/households that experienced the crime type. Includes incidents where the person who experienced the crime did not report the incident themselves, but were aware of another person who did.

          Robbery

          An act of stealing (or attempting to steal) property from a person by physically attacking them or threatening them with force or violence. Includes incidents that occurred at the person's place of work. Excludes pickpocketing or other types of theft from a person that did not involve physical or threatened violence (these are counted under other theft).

          Sexual assault

          An act of a sexual nature carried out against a person's will or without their consent, through the use of physical force, intimidation or coercion and/or involving physical contact. Includes any actual or attempted forced sexual activity such as rape, attempted rape or indecent assault (e.g. being touched inside clothing or intentional rubbing of genitals against the person) and assault with the intent to sexually assault. Includes incidents that occurred at the person's place of work. Excludes sexual harassment that did not involve or lead to an actual or attempted sexual assault. For this survey, only persons aged 18 years and over were asked questions about sexual assault, and respondents had the option of refusal to answer.

          Social marital status

          The relationship status of an individual in terms of whether they form a couple relationship with another person living in the same usual residence, and the nature of that relationship. A marriage exists when two people live together as husband and wife, or partners, regardless of whether the marriage is formalised through registration. Individuals are, therefore, regarded as married if they are in a de facto marriage, or if they are living with the person to whom they are registered as married.

          Theft from a motor vehicle

          An incident where property owned by any member of the household was stolen from a motor vehicle owned (for private use) by any member of that household. Excludes property stolen that belonged to someone not living in the household (e.g. a friend or other relative) and property owned by a business or employer (e.g. a work computer, mobile phone or work tools). Also excludes property stolen from commercial vehicles (e.g. a self-employed business operator whose vehicle is mainly used for work purposes) and any break-in to a motor vehicle where nothing was stolen. For the purposes of this survey, incidents of theft from a motor vehicle are considered to be household crimes.

          Threatened assault

          A verbal, written and/or physical threat to inflict physical harm where the person being threatened believed the threat was likely and able to be carried out. Threatened assault may occur face-to-face or via non-face-to-face methods (such as SMS, e-mail or over the phone). Includes any threat or attempt to strike the person which could cause pain; situations where a gun or other weapon was left in an obvious place (including fake or toy guns/weapons where the threatened person thought it was real) or if the person knew the perpetrator had access to a gun (including toy guns, starter pistol, etc.) or weapon. Also includes incidents where the person was threatened in their line of work. Excludes verbal abuse and any incident of name calling or swearing which did not involve a physical threat, and threats that resulted in an actual assault (these are counted under physical assault).

          Unemployed

          People aged 15 years and over who were not employed during the reference week (i.e. the week before the interview), and:

          • had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the four weeks up to the end of the reference week and were available for work in the reference week
          • were waiting to start a new job within four weeks from the end of the reference week and could have started in the reference week if the job had been available then.

          Victim

          A person or household who has experienced at least one incident of a selected type of crime in the 12 months prior to interview. A person/household may have experienced more than one incident of the same crime type, but is only counted as a victim once.

          Victimisation rate

          The total number of persons/households that experienced a crime type, expressed as a percentage of all persons/households. This is a measure of how prevalent a crime type is in a given population and is used to measure changes in crime rates over time.

          Weapon used

          Where the person believed a weapon was present during the crime incident (even if they did not see a weapon), or where a weapon was not used during the incident but the person was threatened that a weapon might be used. Examples include knife, gun, bat/bar, bottle/glass and syringe/hypodermic needle.

          Abbreviations

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          ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
          ASGSAustralian Statistical Geography Standard
          CAIcomputer assisted interview
          CVSCrime Victimisation Survey
          ERPEstimated Resident Population
          GCCSAGreater Capital City Statistical Areas
          ICSIndigenous Community Strata
          LFSLabour Force Survey
          MPHSMultipurpose Household Survey
          NSWNew South Wales
          NTNorthern Territory
          QldQueensland
          RSErelative standard error
          SASouth Australia
          SEstandard error
          SEIFASocio-Economic Indexes for Areas
          Tas.Tasmania
          Vic.Victoria
          WAWestern Australia