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Federal Defendants, Australia methodology

Reference period
2017-18
Released
16/05/2019

Explanatory notes

Introduction

1 This publication presents information about federal defendants who were finalised in the criminal jurisdictions of the Higher, Magistrates' and Children's Courts across Australia’s states and territories during the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018. Information is presented about the offences, case outcomes and sentences associated with these defendants.

2 The data for federal defendants is a subset of the Criminal Courts, Australia (cat. no. 4513.0) publication, which comprises all defendants finalised in Australia’s state and territory criminal courts.

      Data source

      3 Statistics presented in this publication are compiled based on administrative unit record data supplied to the ABS by the agencies responsible for courts administration in each state and territory, with the exception of Queensland (where data are supplied via the Office of the Government Statistician), and New South Wales (where data are supplied via the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research).

      4 In order to ensure consistency between the states and territories, each one is required to provide data coded to national classifications and standards. For more information see paragraphs 16–26.

      Scope and coverage

      5 This publication presents statistics about persons and organisations whose case(s) have been finalised within the criminal jurisdictions of the Higher, Magistrates' or Children's Courts during the reference period for at least one offence against Commonwealth legislation, with the exception of:

      • Persons under 10 years of age
      • Civil court matters
      • Appeal cases
      • Tribunal matters
      • Cases which do not require the adjudication of charges (e.g. bail reviews and applications to amend sentences or penalties)
      • Defendants for whom a bench warrant is issued but not executed
      • Finalisations in specialist courts, such as drug courts, electronic courts, fine recovery units and Indigenous courts
      • Pre-court diversionary programs (warnings, cautions, drug diversions, conferencing)
      • Bench warrants in the Higher Courts
      • Referrals to mental health review tribunals (e.g. for determination of fitness for trial).


      The following offences (based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC), 2011 (cat. no. 1234.0)) are excluded:

      • Breach of home detention (1512)
      • Breach of suspended sentence (1513)
      • Breach of community service order (1521)
      • Breach of parole (1522)
      • Breach of bail (1523)
      • Breach of bond – probation (1524)
      • Breach of bond – other (1525)
      • Breach of community-based order, n.e.c. (1529).


      6 The geographic definition of Australia, as used by the ABS, includes 'Other Territories'. Defendants finalised on Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island are included in the counts for Western Australia, where applicable. Defendants finalised in Jervis Bay Territory are not included.

      7 The Australian Road Rules (maintained by the National Transport Commission) only apply in each state and territory if they have been enacted by legislation. For example, in the Northern Territory, offences against the Australian Road Rules are identified as federal offences. To ensure consistency across all states and territories, the Australian Road Rules and the associated state and territory enacting legislation, are excluded from the scope of the Federal Defendants collection.

      8 For comparability purposes, federal offences based on national laws enacted under state and territory legislation are excluded from the scope of the Federal Defendants collection from 2016–17. Data for 2015–16 (published in the 2016–17 issue) were revised to reflect this change. Caution should be used when making historical comparisons.

      Court levels

      9 The Higher, Magistrates' and Children's Courts deal with different types of matters. There are differences across states and territories in how the courts are structured and the legislation that governs the types of offences that can be heard summarily or on indictment.

      Higher Courts

      10 All states and territories have a Supreme Court that deals with the most serious criminal matters, generally referred to as an indictable offence (e.g. murder, manslaughter, serious sexual offences, assault, drug trafficking, robbery). The larger states (New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia) also have an intermediate level of court, known as the District Court or County Court, which deal with the majority of serious offences. In this publication, the Supreme and Intermediate courts are collectively referred to as the ‘Higher Courts’.

      11 All defendants that are dealt with by the Higher Courts have an automatic entitlement to a trial before a judge and jury. In some states and territories, the defendant may elect to have their matter(s) heard before a judge alone. Children treated as adults by the court may be included in the Higher Courts defendant counts.

      Magistrates' Courts

      12 The lowest level of criminal court is the Magistrates’ Court (also known as the Court of Summary Jurisdiction, Local Court or Court of Petty Sessions) which hears the majority of all criminal cases. Cases heard in the Magistrates’ Courts do not involve a jury – rather, a magistrate determines whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. This is known as a summary proceeding. Children treated as adults by the courts may also be finalised in the Magistrates' Courts.

      Children's Courts

      13 Each state and territory has Children's Courts to deal with offences alleged to have been committed by a child or juvenile. These courts mainly hear summary proceedings, but do have the power to hear indictable matters in some states and territories.

      14 In all states and territories, a person can only be charged with a criminal offence where they are aged 10 years or over. Defendants are considered to be a child/juvenile where they are under 18 years of age at the time they committed an offence. Prior to February 2018, defendants in Queensland were considered to be a child/juvenile by the courts where they were aged under 17 years.

      Reference period

      15 The statistics in this collection relate to federal defendants finalised during the reference period: 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018.

      Classifications

      16 Classifications provide a framework for organising and presenting data in a comparable and consistent manner. The classifications used for this collection are based upon the National Criminal Courts Data Dictionary (cat. no. 4527.0). The Dictionary - which was developed by the National Criminal Courts Statistics Unit (NCCSU) of the ABS in collaboration with key stakeholders – defines national data items and concepts that underpin the ABS and Council of Australian Governments (CoAG) criminal courts collections.

      17 The key classifications used for this collection are:

      • Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC) (Appendix 1)
      • Method of Finalisation Classification (Appendix 2)
      • Sentence Type Classification (Appendix 3)
      • Federal Offence Groups (Appendix 4).
         

      ANZSOC

      18 Offence data are presented according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC), 2011 (cat. no. 1234.0). Changes to this classification, since its first release as the Australian Standard Offence Classification 1997 (cat. no. 1234.0) (ASOC97), are described in a Technical Note in the 2008–09 issue of this publication.

      19 For ease of reading, some ANZSOC offence names have been abbreviated throughout this publication as follows:

      • Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons appear as 'Dangerous/negligent acts'
      • Abduction, harassment and other offences against the person appear as 'Abduction/harassment'
      • Robbery, extortion and related offences appear as ‘Robbery/extortion’
      • Unlawful entry with intent/burglary, break and enter appear as 'Unlawful entry with intent'
      • Theft and related offences appear as ‘Theft’
      • Fraud, deception and related offences appear as ‘Fraud/deception’
      • Prohibited and regulated weapons and explosives offences appear as 'Weapons/explosives'
      • Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations appear as 'Offences against justice'.
         

      Method of finalisation

      20 Method of finalisation refers to how a criminal charge is concluded by a criminal court. The Method of Finalisation Classification (Appendix 2) contains the main categories of:

      • Adjudicated finalisation – a judgement or decision by the court as to whether or not the defendant is guilty of the charge(s) against them
      • Non-adjudicated finalisation – a charge(s) considered to have been completed even though a judgement has not been handed down by the court (e.g. withdrawn by the prosecution, defendant deceased, unfit to plead, or transfers to non-court agencies)
      • Transfers to other court levels – a court order for the criminal charge(s) to be transferred to another court level for adjudication or sentencing.
         

      Sentence type

      21 The Sentence Type Classification (Appendix 3) describes the types of sentences that are handed down by the court for offences proven guilty, including the main categories of:

      • Custodial orders – sentences that restrict the liberty of a defendant for a specified period of time (e.g. detainment in an institution or home, or regular supervision by corrections personnel while residing in the community)
      • Non-custodial orders – sentences that do not involve being held in custody (e.g. fines, community service orders, good behaviour bonds).


      22 Defendants can receive:

      • A single sentence for a single offence proven guilty
      • A single sentence for multiple offences proven guilty
      • Multiple sentences for a single offence proven guilty
      • Multiple sentences for multiple offences proven guilty.


      23 In some cases, defendants with a method of finalisation of 'not guilty by reason of mental illness/condition' may have some kind of sentence/order imposed. However, these sentences are not included in this collection.

      Federal Offence Groups

      24 The Federal Offence Groups presented in this collection provide an alternate way (to the ANZSOC) of grouping/classifying federal offences, based on offence types that are of particular interest to users of data relating to federal offending/defendants.

      25 The Federal Offence Groups presented are determined using Commonwealth Act level information, with the exception of offences against the Criminal Code Act 1995, Crimes Act 1914, Migration Act 1958, Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 which are assigned using both Act and Section level information. The Groups are subject to regular review, as per changes to federal legislation and emerging user needs. As such, caution should be used when making historical comparisons by Federal Offence Group.

      26 The Federal Offence Groups are not an ABS standard or related to ANZSOC, and may comprise a range of offences that reside in a number of different ANZSOC Divisions. For more information about the groups (including definitions and the Commonwealth Acts, Sections and ANZSOC categories contained within these groups) refer to Appendix 4.

      Counting methodology

      27 The principal counting unit for this collection is the finalised defendant.

      28 A finalised defendant is defined as a person or organisation for whom all charges within a case have been formally completed so that they cease to be an active item of work for the court during the reference period.

      29 The Federal Defendants collection does not enumerate unique persons, instead the following counting rules are applied:

      • Where a defendant is finalised for more than one case, on the same date and in the same court level, their records are merged and they are counted as one finalised defendant
      • Where a defendant is finalised for more than one case, on separate dates within the reference period, they will be counted once for each date they were finalised
      • Where a defendant is finalised in the Magistrates' Courts whilst other charges are committed to, and finalised in the Higher Courts, they will be counted once for each court level they were finalised in during the reference period.
         

      Transfers

      30 The following counting rules apply with regards to defendants transferred from, or between court levels:

      • Defendants transferred from one Higher Court level to another Higher Court level are considered as initiated only once (in the level they first entered) and finalised only once (from the level they finally left)
      • Defendants transferred from a Magistrates' Court to a Higher Court (or vice versa) are considered as initiated twice (once in each of the courts) and finalised twice (once in each of the courts)
      • Defendants transferred between the Children's Courts and the Magistrates' or Higher Courts (or vice versa) are considered to be initiated twice (once in each of the courts) and finalised twice (once in each of the courts)
      • Defendants transferred from the Magistrates' or Children's Courts to specialist courts for finalisation (e.g. Drug Courts, Indigenous Courts) are considered finalised (by transfer) in the criminal court that initiated the transfer. Defendants may then, upon completion of the program, return to the court that requested the transfer, for an additional finalisation.


      31 Defendants with more serious offences (e.g. Homicide and related offences, Robbery/extortion or Sexual assault and related offences) are more likely than other defendants to be transferred from the Magistrates' to the Higher Courts for adjudication or sentencing. This should be taken into consideration when interpreting the relative proportions of transfers and defendants proven guilty for these offences.

      Data items

      32 Defendants who were finalised for more than one federal offence during the reference period will have counting rules applied to determine their principal method of finalisation, offence, sentence type and other characteristics for inclusion in data tables.

      Method of finalisation

      33 For defendants who had multiple charges with varying outcomes, the method of finalisation is assigned based on the following order of precedence:

      Higher Courts:

      • Defendant deceased
      • Unfit to plead
      • Not guilty by reason of mental illness/condition
      • Guilty finding by court
      • Charge proven n.f.d.
      • Guilty plea by defendant
      • Acquitted by court
      • Charge unproven n.f.d.
      • Charge unproven n.e.c.
      • Transfer from a Higher Court to a Magistrates' Court
      • Other transfer between court levels n.e.c.
      • Transfer to non-court agency
      • Withdrawn by the prosecution
      • Other non-adjudicated finalisation n.e.c.
      • Unknown/not stated.


      Magistrates’ Courts:

      • Defendant deceased
      • Unfit to plead
      • Not guilty by reason of mental illness/condition
      • Guilty finding by court
      • Charge proven n.f.d.
      • Guilty plea by defendant
      • Guilty ex-parte
      • Acquitted by court
      • Charge unproven n.f.d.
      • No case to answer at committal
      • Charge unproven n.e.c.
      • Committed for trial
      • Transfer from a Magistrates' Court to a Higher Court n.f.d.
      • Committed for sentence
      • Transfer from a Magistrates' Court to a Higher Court n.e.c.
      • Other transfer between court levels n.e.c.
      • Transfer to non-court agency
      • Withdrawn by the prosecution
      • Other non-adjudicated finalisation n.e.c.
      • Unknown/not stated.


      Children’s Courts:

      • Defendant deceased
      • Unfit to plead
      • Not guilty by reason of mental illness/condition
      • Guilty finding by court
      • Charge proven n.f.d.
      • Guilty plea by defendant
      • Guilty ex-parte
      • Acquitted by court
      • Charge unproven n.f.d.
      • No case to answer at committal
      • Charge unproven n.e.c.
      • Committed for trial
      • Transfer from a Children's Court to a Higher court n.f.d.
      • Committed for sentence
      • Transfer from a Children's Court to a Higher Court n.e.c.
      • Transfer from a Children's Court to a Magistrates' Court
      • Other transfer between court levels n.e.c.
      • Transfer to non-court agency
      • Withdrawn by the prosecution
      • Other non-adjudicated finalisation n.e.c.
      • Unknown/not stated.
         

      Principal federal offence

      34 The principal federal offence presented in this collection refers to the most serious federal offence (based on ANZSOC) associated with a finalised defendant. Where a defendant has been finalised for more than one federal offence type, the method of finalisation and National Offence Index (NOI) (cat. no.1234.0.55.001) – a ranking of offences based on the concept of 'offence seriousness' – are used to determine the principal federal offence. The following rules apply:

      • For defendants finalised with a single federal offence, this is their principal federal offence.
      • For defendants with multiple charges with differing methods of finalisation, the principal federal offence is selected based on the following order of precedence:
         
        • Defendant deceased, unfit to plead, or not guilty by reason of mental illness
        • Charges proven
        • Charges not proven
        • Transfer of charges
        • Charges withdrawn
        • Other non-adjudicated finalisation
        • Unknown/not stated.


      For example, for a defendant finalised as ‘charges proven’ for an obtain benefit by deception offence, and ‘charges not proven’ for a threatening behaviour offence, their principal federal offence would be the obtain benefit by deception.

      35 Where a defendant has multiple charges, each with the same method of finalisation, the NOI is used to determine the principal federal offence (i.e. the charge with the highest ranked ANZSOC code on the NOI).

      36 Where the defendant has an offence that is unable to be determined via the NOI (e.g. due to missing offence information) the principal federal offence is coded to 'not able to be determined'.

      37 The rules underpinning the NOI, in particular defining 'offence seriousness' and the impact of this definition on the ranking of offences, need to be considered when using the principal federal offence data in this publication.

      Principal Federal Offence Group

      38 In order to output the Federal Offence Group at the defendant level, a principal Federal Offence Group is derived by selecting the category associated with the principal federal offence. Where there is more than one Federal Offence Group associated with an offence, the hierarchy of the NOI is used to derive the most serious Group. For more information, refer to paragraphs 34–37.

      Sentence information

      Principal federal sentence

      39 Defendants with more than one sentence type (for either a single offence or multiple offences) are assigned a principal federal sentence, which is intended to reflect the most serious sentence based on the hierarchy of the Sentence Type Classification (Appendix 3).

      40 In most cases, the principal federal sentence will be associated with the principal federal offence (that is, the most serious sentence handed down for the most serious offence). However, because the principal federal sentence is assigned independently of offence information, it is possible for this not to be the case (i.e. where the most serious offence proven guilty has not incurred the most serious/largest sentence). Analysis indicates that the overall number of instances where the principal federal offence and principal federal sentence do not align is small. Users should note this in regards to data tables presenting principal federal offence and principal federal sentence.

      41 It should also be noted that there are some differences in the availability and application of sentence types across states and territories, and over time, which should be taken into consideration when interpreting sentence data.

      Duration

      42 This ‘duration’ information presented is a measure of court timeliness, representing the time taken (in days) between the date a defendant’s case(s) was initiated in court and the date they were finalised (i.e. ceased to be an item of work for the court) as follows:

      Duration = Date of finalisation – Date of initiation + 1

      43 Note that duration data for New South Wales and the Northern Territory are derived on a different basis (see paragraphs 49 and 58).

      Comparability

      44 National standards and classifications are used in this collection to produce nationally comparable data (refer paragraphs 16–26). However, various factors can impact data quality and comparability, including:

      • Challenges with meeting national standards due to courts data systems being designed for the purpose of administration of court business (as opposed to national statistical purposes)
      • Modification overtime to data systems and methodology used to extract/compile data
      • Refinements to data quality procedures
      • Legislative or operational differences across states and territories (e.g. differences in the types of sentencing options available to the courts).


      45 Refer to paragraphs 49–59 for more specific state and territory information relating to data comparability.

      Comparisons to other ABS data

      Criminal courts collection

      46 The Federal Defendants collection presents a subset of all defendants finalised in Australia's criminal courts, as published in Criminal Courts, Australia (cat. no. 4513.0). However, as a federal defendant may also be finalised for state or territory offences (in the same reference period), the difference between all finalised defendants and finalised federal defendants does not equal the count of defendants finalised for state/territory offences.

      Comparisons to non-ABS sources

      47 The data in this publication may not be comparable to data published in other national and state/territory publications due to differing scope and counting rules.

      State and territory specific information

      48 The following information highlights events or processes unique to a state/territory that may have impacted on the data for the Federal Defendants collection. For other state and territory specific issues that have impacted on the Criminal Courts collection more generally, refer to paragraphs 75–113 of the Explanatory Notes of Criminal Courts, Australia (cat. no. 4513.0).

      New South Wales

      49 Duration data for New South Wales Magistrates' and Children's Courts are based on the date of first appearance rather than the date of registration, because the date of registration is not captured in the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research's (BOCSAR) system (the source of courts data provided to the ABS). This may impact on duration data and therefore caution should be used when making comparisons across states and territories.

      50 New South Wales legislation does not contain discrete offences of stalking, intimidation and harassment and therefore all these offences have been coded to ANZSOC Division 02 Acts intended to cause injury. As such, this division may be overstated and ANZSOC Division 05 Abduction/harassment may be understated. Caution should be used when making comparisons with other states and territories.

      Victoria

      51 Victorian data for 2016–17 have been revised to count a finalised defendant consistent with established counting rules. The revisions have resulted in a 3% decrease in the number of federal defendants finalised during 2016–17.

      52 Victoria has a high proportion of defendants with a principal federal offence in ANZSOC Division 14 Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences compared with most other states and territories. This is due to parking offences occurring at airports, charged under Airports (Control of On-Airport Activities) Regulations 1997.

      Queensland

      53 In February 2018, the Youth Justice (Transitional) Regulation, 2018 commenced. This allows for 17 year-olds who are in adult prison, on adult community-based orders or involved in adult court proceedings to be transferred to the youth justice system.

      The transitional regulation means that:

      • 17 year-olds on community-based orders will transfer to Youth Justice supervision
      • 17 year-olds in adult custody will be eligible for transfer to a youth detention centre, if it is in the child’s best interest and safety
      • Court proceedings for 17 year-olds will transfer to the youth justice system.


      54 A system change in 2017–18 has meant that data on summary offences that are transferred from the Magistrates’ Courts to the Higher Courts, have been included in Queensland data for the first time. These data relate to situations where a defendant is charged with an indictable offence and a summary offence in relation to the same incident. Upon the election of the defendant, and with the consent of the court, when the defendant is to be sentenced for the indictable offence in the higher court, the summary offences can, at that point, be transferred to the Higher Court to be sentenced at the same time. The inclusion of this data has resulted in an increase in transfers from Magistrates’ Courts to Higher Courts, and total transfers. Therefore, comparisons between 2017–18 transfers and previous years for Queensland and Australia should be made with caution.

      Western Australia

      55 From 2016–17 to 2017–18, median duration decreased from 12.3 to 10.1 weeks. This is likely to be due in part to greater use of electronic lodgement processes for initiating Court actions.

      56 Detailed data on defendants proven guilty (guilty finding by the court, guilty plea by defendant and guilty ex-parte) are not published for Western Australia. This is due to changes in the quality of these data since the migration of Western Australia’s criminal courts data to the Integrated Courts Management System (ICMS) in November 2013.

      Tasmania

      57 The 2010–11 Federal Defendants collection included data for Tasmanian Magistrates' and Children's Courts only. From 2011–12, data for all court levels are included for Tasmania.

      Northern Territory

      58 Date of initiation in Magistrates’ and Children’s courts within the Northern Territory is based on the earliest of: the date the case was filed; the date the case was created; or the date of first appearance.

      Australian Capital Territory

      59 The Australian Capital Territory has a high proportion of defendants with a principal federal offence of Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences compared with most other states and territories. This is due to parking offences charged under the Commonwealth Australian National University Parking and Traffic Statute 2007 and the Australian National University Act 1991.

      Confidentiality of tabular data

      60 The Census and Statistics Act 1905 provides the authority for the ABS to collect statistical information, and requires that statistical output shall not be published or disseminated in a manner that is likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation. To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique called perturbation is used to randomly adjust cell values and summary variables. This technique, used for the first time for the 2013–14 publication, involves 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.

      61 The result of perturbation is that a given published cell value will be consistent across all tables, but the sum of the components of a total will not necessarily be the same as the published total, in some tables. As such, proportions may add to more or less than 100%. Readers are advised to use the published totals rather than deriving totals based on the component cells. Cells with small values may be proportionally more affected by perturbation than large values. Users are advised against conducting analyses and drawing conclusions based on small values.

      62 Perturbation has been applied to all data presented in this publication as well as data from 2010–11 onwards. Prior to 2013–14, a different confidentiality technique was used and therefore there may be small differences between historical data presented in the 2013–14 issue onwards and those published in previous issues.

      Revisions

      63 Selected data for Victoria for 2016–17 have been revised within this publication. As such, data presented in this publication may not be directly comparable with data in previous issues. For more information refer to paragraph 51.

      Related publications

      ABS publications

      64 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed on the ABS website. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website which details products to be released in the week ahead. 

      Non-ABS publications

      65 Non-ABS sources of criminal court statistics which may be of interest include:

      Appendix - Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC)

      Show all

      CodeDivision/Subdivision/Group
      01Homicide and related offences
       011 Murder
        0111  Murder
       012 Attempted murder
        0121  Attempted murder
       013 Manslaughter and driving causing death
        0131  Manslaughter
        0132  Driving causing death
      02 Acts intended to cause injury
       021 Assault
        0211  Serious assault resulting in injury
        0212  Serious assault not resulting in injury
        0213  Common assault
       029 Other acts intended to cause injury
        0291  Stalking
        0299  Other acts intended to cause injury, n.e.c.
      03 Sexual assault and related offences
       031 Sexual assault
        0311  Aggravated sexual assault
        0312  Non-aggravated sexual assault
       032 Non-assaultive sexual offences
        0321  Non-assaultive sexual offences against a child
        0322  Child pornography offences
        0323  Sexual servitude offences
        0329  Non-assaultive sexual offences, n.e.c.
      04 Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons
       041 Dangerous or negligent operation of a vehicle  
        0411  Driving under the influence of alcohol or other substance
        0412  Dangerous or negligent operation (driving) of a vehicle
       049 Other dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons
        0491  Neglect or ill-treatment of persons under care
        0499  Other dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons, n.e.c.
      05 Abduction, harassment and other offences against the person
       051 Abduction and kidnapping
        0511  Abduction and kidnapping
       052 Deprivation of liberty/false imprisonment
        0521  Deprivation of liberty/false imprisonment
       053 Harassment and threatening behaviour
        0531  Harassment and private nuisance
        0532  Threatening behaviour
      06 Robbery, extortion and related offences
       061 Robbery
        0611  Aggravated robbery
        0612  Non-aggravated robbery
       062 Blackmail and extortion
        0621  Blackmail and extortion
      07 Unlawful entry with intent/burglary, break and enter
       071 Unlawful entry with intent/burglary, break and enter  
        0711  Unlawful entry with intent/burglary, break and enter  
      08Theft and related offences
       081 Motor vehicle theft and related offences
        0811  Theft of a motor vehicle
        0812  Illegal use of a motor vehicle
        0813  Theft of motor vehicle parts or contents
       082 Theft (except motor vehicles)
        0821  Theft from a person (excluding by force)
        0822  Theft of intellectual property
        0823  Theft from retail premises
        0829  Theft (except motor vehicles), n.e.c.
       083 Receive or handle proceeds of crime
        0831  Receive or handle proceeds of crime
       084 Illegal use of property (except motor vehicles)
        0841  Illegal use of property (except motor vehicles)
      09Fraud, deception and related offences
       091 Obtain benefit by deception
        0911  Obtain benefit by deception
       092 Forgery and counterfeiting
        0921  Counterfeiting of currency
        0922  Forgery of documents
        0923  Possess equipment to make false/illegal instrument
       093 Deceptive business/government practices
        0931  Fraudulent trade practices
        0932  Misrepresentation of professional status
        0933  Illegal non-fraudulent trade practices
       099 Other fraud and deception offences
        0991  Dishonest conversion
        0999  Other fraud and deception offences, n.e.c.
      10Illicit drug offences
       101 Import or export illicit drugs
        1011  Import illicit drugs
        1012  Export illicit drugs
       102 Deal or traffic in illicit drugs
        1021  Deal or traffic in illicit drugs - commercial quantity
        1022  Deal or traffic in illicit drugs - non-commercial quantity
       103 Manufacture or cultivate illicit drugs
        1031  Manufacture illicit drugs
        1032  Cultivate illicit drugs
       104 Possess and/or use illicit drugs
        1041  Possess illicit drugs
        1042  Use illicit drugs
       109 Other illicit drug offences
        1099  Other illicit drug offences, n.e.c.
      11Prohibited and regulated weapons and explosives offences
       111 Prohibited weapons/explosives offences
        1111  Import or export prohibited weapons/explosives
        1112  Sell, possess and/or use prohibited weapons/explosives
        1119  Prohibited weapons/explosives offences, n.e.c.
       112 Regulated weapons/explosives offences
        1121  Unlawfully obtain or possess regulated weapons/explosives
        1122  Misuse of regulated weapons/explosives
        1123  Deal or traffic regulated weapons/explosives offences
        1129  Regulated weapons/explosives offences, n.e.c.
      12Property damage and environmental pollution
       121 Property damage
        1211  Property damage by fire or explosion
        1212  Graffiti
        1219  Property damage, n.e.c.
       122 Environmental pollution
        1221  Air pollution offences
        1222  Water pollution offences
        1223  Noise pollution offences
        1224  Soil pollution offences
        1229  Environmental pollution, n.e.c.
      13Public order offences
       131 Disorderly conduct
        1311  Trespass
        1312  Criminal intent
        1313  Riot and affray
        1319  Disorderly conduct, n.e.c.
       132 Regulated public order offences
        1321  Betting and gambling offences
        1322  Liquor and tobacco offences
        1323  Censorship offences
        1324  Prostitution offences
        1325  Offences against public order sexual standards
        1326  Consumption of legal substances in prohibited spaces
        1329  Regulated public order offences, n.e.c.
       133 Offensive conduct
        1331  Offensive language
        1332  Offensive behaviour
        1333  Vilify or incite hatred on racial, cultural, religious or ethnic grounds
        1334  Cruelty to animals
      14Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences
       141 Driver Licence offences
        1411  Drive while licence disqualified or suspended
        1412  Drive without a licence
        1419  Driver licence offences, n.e.c.
       142 Vehicle registration and roadworthiness offences
        1421  Registration offences
        1422  Roadworthiness offences
       143 Regulatory driving offences
        1431  Exceed the prescribed content of alcohol or other substance limit
        1432  Exceed the legal speed limit
        1433  Parking offences
        1439  Regulatory driving offences, n.e.c.
       144 Pedestrian offences
        1441  Pedestrian offences
      15Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
       151 Breach of custodial order offences
        1511  Escape custody offences
        1512  Breach of home detention
        1513  Breach of suspended sentence
       152 Breach of community-based orders
        1521  Breach of community service order
        1522  Breach of parole
        1523  Breach of bail
        1524  Breach of bond - probation
        1525  Breach of bond - other
        1529  Breach of community-based order, n.e.c.
       153 Breach of violence and non-violence restraining orders
        1531  Breach of violence order
        1532  Breach of non-violence order
       154 Offences against government operations
        1541  Resist or hinder government official (excluding police officer, justice official or government security officer)
        1542  Bribery involving government officials
        1543  Immigration offences
        1549  Offences against government operations, n.e.c.
       155 Offences against government security
        1551  Resist or hinder government officer concerned with government security
        1559  Offences against government security, n.e.c.
       156 Offences against justice procedures
        1561  Subvert the course of justice
        1562  Resist or hinder police officer or justice official
        1563  Prison regulation offences
        1569  Offences against justice procedures, n.e.c.
      16Miscellaneous offences
       161 Defamation, libel and privacy offences
        1611  Defamation and libel
        1612  Offences against privacy
       162 Public health and safety offences
        1621  Sanitation offences
        1622  Disease prevention offences
        1623  Occupational health and safety offences
        1624  Transport regulation offences
        1625  Dangerous substances offences
        1626  Licit drug offences
        1629  Public health and safety offences, n.e.c.
       163 Commercial/industry/financial regulation
        1631  Commercial/industry/financial regulation
       169 Other miscellaneous offences
        1691  Environmental regulation offences
        1692  Bribery excluding government officials
        1693  Quarantine offences
        1694  Import/export regulations
        1695  Procure or commit illegal abortion
        1699  Other miscellaneous offences, n.e.c.

      Appendix - method of finalisation classification

      Show all

      Method of finalisation refers to the way in which a defendant’s case(s) is finalised by the courts and the case(s) ceases to be an item of work for that particular court level (within the reference period).

      This Appendix presents the different categories/types of method of finalisation in scope of the Federal Defendants collection, including the definitions for each of these.

      For additional information about counting rules and state/territory specific court practices that may impact on method of finalisation data in this publication, refer to the Explanatory Notes.

      CODEMETHOD OF FINALISATION TYPE AND DESCRIPTION
      100  ADJUDICATED FINALISATION
         An outcome of criminal proceedings based on a judgement, or decision made by the court as to whether or not the defendant is guilty of a criminal charge(s). Includes:
      110 Charge proven
      120 Charge not proven
       110 Charge Proven (Proven Guilty)
         An outcome of criminal proceedings of criminal proceedings in which a court accepts that a criminal charge(s) is proven either through a guilty plea entered by a defendant, or through a guilty finding by the court. Includes:
      111 Guilty finding by the court
      112 Guilty plea by defendant
      113 Guilty ex-parte
        111Guilty finding by the court
         An outcome of criminal proceedings whereby the court (i.e. Jury, Judge, Magistrate etc.) has determined that the defendant is guilty of a criminal charge(s).
        112Guilty plea by defendant
         An admission of guilt by the defendant in relation to a criminal charge(s).
        113Guilty ex-parte
         A determination of guilt made by the court, in the absence of the defendant, based on the evidence presented in relation to a criminal charge(s).
       120 Charges not proven (Acquitted)
         A determination made by the court that the defendant is not guilty of a criminal charge(s) due to sufficient evidence to demonstrate the defendant is not guilty, insufficient evidence presented by the prosecution (to infer guilt), or lack of criminal responsibility (i.e. mental illness or condition at the time the defendant was alleged to have committed an offence). Includes:
      121 Acquitted by the court
      122 Not guilty by reason of mental illness/condition
      123 No case to answer at committal
      124 Charge not proven, n.e.c.
        121Acquitted by the court
         A determination made by the court that the defendant is not guilty, or is free from a criminal charge(s).
        122Not guilty by reason of mental illness/condition
         A determination by the court that the defendant is not guilty of a criminal charge(s) by reason of mental illness/condition.
        123No case to answer at committal
         A determination by the court (at a committal hearing) that there is insufficient evidence to commit the defendant to a higher court for trial.
        129Charge not proven, n.e.c.
         An outcome of criminal proceedings whereby a criminal charge(s) has not been proven, for reasons not described elsewhere (i.e. 121, 122,123). For example, where the charge is struck out, or dismissed by a member of the judiciary due to delays in proceedings or insufficient evidence provided by the prosecution.
      200  TRANSFER OF CHARGES BETWEEN COURT LEVELS
         A court outcome ordering that a criminal charge(s) be transferred to another court level (within the same state/territory) to be adjudicated and/or sentenced. Includes:
      210 Transfer from a lower court to a Higher Court
      220 Transfer from the Higher Court to a Magistrates’ Court
      250 Transfer from a Children’s Court to a Magistrates’ Court
      290 Other transfers between court levels, n.e.c.
       210 Transfer from a lower to a Higher Court
         A court outcome ordering a criminal charge(s) initiated in a lower court be transferred to a higher court for trial and/or sentencing. Includes:
      211 Committed for trial
      212 Committed for sentence
      219 Transfer from a lower to a Higher Court, n.e.c.
        211Committed for trial
         A court outcome of a committal hearing where a defendant enters a not guilty plea in relation to the charge(s) against them and is subsequently transferred to a Higher Court to stand trial.
        212Committed to sentence
         A court outcome of a committal hearing where a defendant enters a guilty plea in relation to the charge(s) against them and is subsequently transferred to a Higher Court for sentencing.
        219Transfer from a lower court to a Higher Court, n.e.c.
         A court outcome resulting in transfer from a lower to a Higher Court not elsewhere described (i.e. 211, 212).
       220 Transfer from a Higher Court to a Magistrates' Court
         A court outcome ordering that a charge(s) be transferred from a Higher Court to a Magistrates’ Court to be determined and/or sentenced.
       250 Transfer from a Children's Court to a Magistrates' Court
         A court outcome ordering that a criminal charge(s) be transferred from a Children's Court to a Magistrates' Court to be determined and/or sentenced.
       290 Other transfers between court levels, n.e.c.
         A court outcome ordering that a criminal charge(s) be transferred to another court level not described elsewhere (i.e. 210, 220 and 250). Includes re-hearings ordered by an appellate court, transfers from a Higher Court to a Children’s Court and transfers to Specialist Courts.(1)
      300  NON-ADJUDICATED FINALISATION
         Court outcomes which relate to the completion of a criminal charge(s) which have not been adjudicated. Includes:
      310 Defendant deceased
      330 Unfit to plead
      340 Withdrawn by the prosecution
      350 Transfer to a non-court agency
      390 Other non-adjudicated finalisation, n.e.c.
       310 Defendant deceased
         Following the initiation of a criminal charge(s) the court is notified that the defendant is deceased. As such, the case(s) is unable to proceed.
       330 Unfit to plead
         An outcome of court proceedings where the defendant has been deemed to be incapable of pleading guilty or not guilty to a criminal charge(s) as a result of their mental status.
       340 Withdrawn by the prosecution
         The formal withdrawal of a criminal charge(s) by the prosecution (i.e. Police, Director of Public Prosecutions, Attorney-General, or another initiating agency). Includes Nolle Prosequi and No True Bill.
       350 Transfer to a non-court agency
         An outcome of court proceedings whereby the criminal charge(s) has been transferred to a non-court agency.
       390 Other non-adjudicated finalisation, n.e.c.
         Other non-adjudicated finalisations which have not been described elsewhere (i.e. 310, 330, 340 and 350).
      900  NOT STATED/UNKNOWN
         The method of finalisation is not able to be determined.
      1. Specialist Courts: Courts available in some states and territories that provide support and/or offer access to programs and support services for defendants with particular characteristics. For example, Drug courts and Indigenous courts. The aim of specialist courts is to reduce rates of persons subsequently returning to the justice system. Specialist courts are excluded from Federal Defendants data.

      Appendix - sentence type classification

      Show all

      This Appendix includes sentence codes, categories and definitions for each sentence type included in the Federal Defendants collection. For additional information about sentencing practices adopted by each state and territory and how these may impact on the comparability of the data presented in this collection please refer to the Explanatory Notes.

      CODESENTENCE TYPE AND DESCRIPTION
      1000   CUSTODIAL ORDERS
          Sentences which impose a specified period of restricted liberty on a person through detainment in an institution, a home, or through intensive supervision while residing in the community. Includes:
      1100 Custody in a correctional institution
      1200 Custody in the community
      1300 Fully suspended sentences
       1100  Custody in a correctional institution
          Sentences that require a person to be detained within a facility, built especially for the purpose of incarceration. Includes:
      1110 Life and indeterminate imprisonment
      1120 Imprisonment
      1130 Periodic detention
      1140 Juvenile detention
        1110 Life and indeterminate imprisonment
          Life Imprisonment: A sentence requiring a person to serve time in custody for a minimum time, specified by the court or other administrative body (e.g. Parole Board). This can, but does not necessarily mean, that a person may be held in custody for the full duration of his/her natural life. Indeterminate Imprisonment: A sentence dealt to those declared to be habitual criminals, those deemed not responsible for their actions due to a mental or intellectual impairment, or those sentenced to imprisonment where no formal release date has been set. The prisoner may be released at any time at the discretion of the administrative body responsible for making that decision (e.g. Parole Board).
        1120 Imprisonment
          A sentence requiring a person to be detained within a facility built especially for the purpose of incarceration. Includes:
      1121 Imprisonment with a determined term
      1122 Imprisonment with a partially suspended term
         1121Imprisonment with a determined term
          A sentence requiring a person to be detained, within a facility built especially for the purpose of incarceration, for a specified period of time.
         1122Imprisonment with a partially suspended term
          A sentence requiring a person to be detained within a facility built especially for the purpose of incarceration, for part of a specified period of time, subject to the person being of good behaviour.
        1130 Periodic detention
          A sentence requiring a person to be in custody for two consecutive days in a week (e.g. weekends) and remain at liberty during the rest of the week.
        1140 Juvenile detention
          A sentence requiring a juvenile person to be detained within a facility built especially for the purpose of incarceration. Includes:
      1141 Juvenile detention with a determined term
      1142 Juvenile detention with a partially suspended term
         1141Juvenile detention with a determined term
          A sentence requiring a juvenile person to be detained within a facility, built especially for the purpose of incarceration, for a specified period of time.
         1142Juvenile detention with a partially suspended term
          A sentence requiring a juvenile person to be detained within a facility, built especially for the purpose of incarceration, for part of a specified period of time, subject to the person being of good behaviour.
       1200  Custody in the community
          An alternative to full time imprisonment, requiring a person to have restricted liberty for the duration of their sentence which is carried out in an approved community location under strict supervision. Includes:
      1210 Intensive corrections orders
      1220 Home detention
      1290 Other custody in the community, n.e.c.
        1210 Intensive corrections orders
          A sentence, served in the community, that places restrictions on the liberty of the person and requires them to report to a correctional services officer on a regular basis for a specified period of time. Includes: intensive supervision/corrections orders and fully suspended sentences (with conditions).
        1220 Home detention
          A sentence requiring a person to be confined to their home or another approved place of residence for the duration (or part) of the sentence of imprisonment. Involves restrictions to liberty and strict supervision (e.g. electronic monitoring).
        1290 Other custody in the community, n.e.c.
          A sentence, served in the community, which restricts the liberty of a person for a specified period of time, while they reside within an approved location - which has not been described elsewhere (i.e. 1200, 1210 or 1220).
       1300  Fully suspended sentences
          A sentence which releases a person into the community, subject to them being of good behaviour for the length of the sentence. Includes:
      1310 Fully suspended adult sentence
      1320 Fully suspended juvenile sentence
        1310 Fully suspended adult sentence
          A sentence which releases a person into the community, subject to them being of good behaviour for the length of the sentence. Excludes fully suspended sentences that have added conditions other than good behaviour (these are classified to sentence code 1210).
        1320 Fully suspended juvenile sentence
          A sentence which releases a juvenile person into the community, subject to them being of good behaviour for the length of the sentence.
      2000   NON-CUSTODIAL ORDERS
          Orders that do not involve a person being held in custody. Includes:
      2100 Community supervision or work orders
      2200 Monetary orders
      2900 Other non-custodial orders
       2100  Community supervision or work orders
          An order requiring a person to perform work within the community or report to a person nominated by the court (e.g. a justice official). Includes:
      2110 Community service orders
      2120 Probation orders
      2130 Treatment orders
      2140 Referral to conference
        2110 Community service orders
          An order requiring a person to undertake a specified number of hours of unpaid work for the community.
        2120 Probation orders
          An order requiring a person to report periodically to an authorised officer. Excludes orders that contain periods of restricted liberty.
        2130 Treatment orders
          An order requiring a person to undertake a specified rehabilitation program aimed at behavioural or attitudinal modification e.g. drug or alcohol treatment programs.
        2140 Referral to conference
          An order requiring a person to attend a group, family or community conference.
       2200  Monetary orders
          An order that requires a person pay a sum of money, usually in the form of a fine, or as recompense to victims. Includes:
      2210 Fine
      2220 Orders as recompense to victim
      2290 Other monetary orders, n.e.c.
        2210 Fine
          A monetary penalty requiring a person to pay a sum of money to the Crown.
        2220 Orders as recompense to victim
          An order requiring a person to pay a sum of money for a purpose, other than a fine, usually in relation to reparation to a victim. Includes restitution and compensation orders.
        2290 Other monetary orders, n.e.c.
          Other monetary orders, not described elsewhere (i.e. 2210 or 2220), such as vehicle impoundment costs.
       2900  Other non-custodial orders
          Other non-custodial orders, not described elsewhere. Includes:
      2910 Good behaviour bonds
      2920 Licence disqualification/suspension/amendment
      2930 Forfeiture of property order
      2940 Nominal penalties
      2990 Other non-custodial orders, n.e.c.
        2910 Good behaviour bond/recognisance orders
          An order requiring a person to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. May include additional conditions that must be obeyed for the term of the order. Includes Recognisance orders – a condition or obligation undertaken by a defendant whereby they acknowledge, before the court, that they owe a personal debt to the state.
        2920 License disqualification/suspension/amendment
          An order relating to the cancellation/suspension or amendment of a licence/permit, or the review, or modification of conditions associated with it.
        2930 Forfeiture of property orders
          An order that deprives a person of his/her property as a penalty for some act or omission.
        2940 Nominal penalty
          An order which releases a person without a specific penalty, which may or may not have conditions attached. Includes Rising of the Court(1) and discharge/dismissal.
        2990 Other non-custodial orders, n.e.c.
          Other non-custodial orders that have not been described elsewhere (i.e. 2910, 2920, 2930 or 2940).
      9000   UNKNOWN/NOT STATED
          The sentence is not able to be determined.
      1. Rising of the Court: A defendant who is proven guilty of a criminal charge(s) is sentenced to remain in custody until the final adjournment of the court for the term, usually only momentarily.

      Appendix - Federal Offence Group

      Show all

      Federal Offence GroupDefinitionActs included in 2017–18 dataANZSOC Divisions included in 2017–18 data
      AviationIncludes a range of offences impacting on the operation of aviation and airports throughout Australia.Air Navigation Regulations 1947
      Airports (Control of on-Airport Activities) Regulations 1997
      Aviation Transport Security Act 2004
      Aviation Transport Security Regulations 2005
      Civil Aviation Act 1988
      Civil Aviation Regulations 1988
      Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998
      Crimes (Aviation) Act 1991
      02 Acts intended to cause injury
      04 Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons
      05 Abduction, Harassment and other offences against the person
      11 Prohibited and regulated weapons and explosives offences
      13 Public order offences
      15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
      16 Miscellaneous offences
      Child sexual exploitation offencesIncludes child pornography offences and using a carriage service to groom a child to engage in sexual activity.Criminal Code Act 199503 Sexual assault and related offences
      Commonwealth officialsIncludes offences such as bribing, threatening, harming or impersonating Commonwealth officials. Offences against foreign officials are also counted here.Criminal Code Act 199502 Acts intended to cause injury
      05 Abduction, Harassment and other offences against the person
      09 Fraud, deception and related offences
      15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
      Commonwealth propertyIncludes offences that relate to theft, burglary or damage occurring on, or in relation to, Commonwealth property.Crimes Act 1914 Criminal Code Act 1995 Public Order (Protection of Persons and Property) Act 197106 Robbery, extortion and related offences
      08 Theft and related offences
      12 Property damage and environmental pollution
      13 Public order offences
      15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
      Commonwealth sexual offencesIncludes offences of a sexual nature such as sex trafficking, debt bondage and sexual slavery. Sexual offences against a minor are also counted in this category.Crimes Act 1914 Criminal Code Act 199503 Sexual assault and related offences
      CommunicationsIncludes offences relating to the use of computers, postal service and other telecommunications as channels in the carriage of crime, such as threatening others via the Internet.Classification of Publications Films and Computer Games Act 1995 Crimes Act 1914 Criminal Code Act 1995 Postal Services Act 1975 Radio communications Act 199203 Sexual assault and related offences
      05 Abduction, harassment and other offences against the person
      08 Theft and related offences
      09 Fraud, deception and related offences
      10 Illicit drug offences
      12 Property damage and environmental pollution
      13 Public order offences
      15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
      16 Miscellaneous offences
      DefenceIncludes offences which breach defence force legislation and involve defence force persons or property.Defence Act 1903 Defence Force Discipline Act 198204 Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons
      09 Fraud, deception and related offences
      13 Public order offences
      DrugsIncludes offences relating to the import/export, manufacturing, supply, possession and/or use of drugs or other illicit substances as well as the misrepresentation of licit drug products.Criminal Code Act 1995 Therapeutic Goods Act 198904 Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons
      10 Illicit drug offences
      16 Miscellaneous offences
      EnvironmentIncludes offences related to environmental protection, wildlife conservation and the harming of protected species. Environmental offences related to the sea are counted under Maritime and Illegal fishing.Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 198316 Miscellaneous offences
      FinancialIncludes offences relating to the improper handling of finance, such as bankruptcy, import/export of counterfeit money and the improper use of public money.Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 Bankruptcy Act 1966 Cash Transaction Reports Act 1988 Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 Corporations Act 2001 Crimes (Aviation) Act 1991 Crimes (Currency) Act 1981 Criminal Code Act 1995 Financial Framework Supplementary Powers Act 1997 Financial Transaction Reports Act 198809 Fraud, deception and related offences
      15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
      16 Miscellaneous offences
      FraudIncludes offences relating to false or misleading statements for personal gain such as insurance claims, identification and misrepresentation of accreditation. Trademark and copyright infringements are also counted in this category.Competition and Consumer Act 2010 Copyright Act 1968 Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 Crimes Act 1914 Criminal Code Act 1995 Health Insurance Act 1973 National Measurement Act 1960 Statutory Declarations Act 2959 Trade Marks Act 199508 Theft and related offences
      09 Fraud, deception and related offences
      13 Public order offences
      15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
      16 Miscellaneous offences
      Illegal fishingIncludes offences relating to unlawful fishing in Australian waters, such as fishing without a licence and fishing by foreign vessels.Fisheries Management Act 1991 Torres Strait Fisheries Act 198409 Fraud, deception and related offences
      16 Miscellaneous offences
      Illegal use/ importation of weaponsIncludes offences related to the illegal use or removal of firearms, other weapons and explosives.Criminal Code Act 199511 Prohibited and regulated weapons and explosives offences
      Import/export offencesIncludes breaches against import and export regulations set out by customs and quarantine control legislation.Biosecurity Act, 2015 Criminal Code Act 1995 Customs Act 1901 Export Control Act 1982 Hazardous Waste Regulation of Exports and Imports Act 1989 Imported Food Control Act 1992 Imported Food Control Regulations 1998 Quarantine Act 190809 Fraud, deception and related offences
      10 Illicit drug offences
      11 Prohibited and regulated weapons and explosives offences
      13 Public order offences
      15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
      16 Miscellaneous offences
      InternationalIncludes offences initiated overseas or related to foreign persons such as harming Australians overseas, war crimes, recruitment to serve in armed forces in foreign states and the transfer of prisoners across borders.Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions-Iran) Regulation 2016 Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978 Criminal Code Act 199515 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
      JusticeIncludes offences related to breach of justice orders, escaping from custody or immigration detention, subverting the course of justice and failure to vote.Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 Australian Federal Police Act 1979 Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 Crimes Act 1914 Criminal Code Act 1995 Royal Commissions Act 190209 Fraud, deception and related offences
      15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
      MaritimeIncludes offences occurring in or affecting Australia's maritime environment, excluding illegal fishing.Historic Shipwrecks Act 1978 Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Regulations 2003 Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 198312 Property damage and Environmental pollution
      16 Miscellaneous offences
      MigrationIncludes breaches of Australian citizenship and migration legislation such as passport fraud, falsely holding a visa and breaking visa conditions.Australian Citizenship Act 2007 Australian Passports Act 2005 Foreign Passports (Law Enforcement and Security) Act 2005 Migration Act 195809 Fraud, deception and related offences
      11 Prohibited and regulated weapons and explosives offences
      15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
      People smugglingIncludes offences related to the organised movement of people into Australia illegally.Migration Act 195809 Fraud, deception and related offences
      15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
      Proceeds of crimeIncludes the handling of money or property gained through criminal activity.Criminal Code Act 1995 Proceeds of Crime Act 198708 Theft and related offences
      09 Fraud, deception and related offence
      SecurityIncludes offences related to the security of Commonwealth property such as espionage and treason.Crimes Act 1914 Criminal Code Act 1995 Defence (Special undertakings) act 195215 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
      Social securityIncludes making false claim or statement in relation to social security benefits, pensions and allowances.Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 Social Security Act 199109 Fraud, deception and related offences
      TaxIncludes tax fraud, failure to lodge a tax return or to pay tax, as well as offences related to non-registered tax agents.Excise Act 1901 Taxation Administration Act 195309 Fraud, deception and related offences
      15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
      TerrorismIncludes terrorist acts, preparing or training for terrorist acts, or possessing things connected with terrorist acts.Criminal Code Act 199515 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
      TransportIncudes interstate road offences and breaches of railways by-laws.Airports (Control of on-Airport Activities) Regulations 1997 Australian National University Act 1991 Interstate Road Transport Act 1985 Interstate Road Transport Regulations 1986 Motor Vehicle Standards Act 198909 Fraud, deception and related offences
      14 Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences
      OtherIncludes offences that have not been counted elsewhere.Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994 Census and Statistics Act 1905 Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 Criminal Code Act 1995 Family Law Act 1975 Marriage Act 1961 Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991 Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 201115 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
      16 Miscellaneous offences

      Glossary

      Show all

      Abduction, harassment and other offences against the person

      Acts intended to threaten or harass, or acts that unlawfully deprive another person of their freedom of movement, that are against that person’s will or against the will of any parent, guardian or other person having lawful custody, or care of that person. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 05 which includes the following Sub-divisions:

      • Abduction and kidnapping (051)
      • Deprivation of liberty/false imprisonment (052)
      • Harassment and threatening behaviour (053).
         

            Acts intended to cause injury

            Acts which are intended to cause non-fatal injury or harm to another person, where there is no sexual or acquisitive element; excludes attempted murder, or acts resulting in death. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 02 which includes the following Sub-divisions:

            • Assault (021)
            • Other acts intended to cause injury (029).
               

            Age

            A defendant's age is calculated at the date their matter(s) was finalised in the criminal court.

            All Courts

            All Courts data refer to the grouping of Higher Courts, Magistrates' Courts and Children's Courts.

            Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC)

            The ANZSOC is a hierarchical classification developed by the ABS for use in the collection and publication of crime and justice statistics. It provides a classificatory framework for the comparison of statistics on offences across Australia and New Zealand. Within the classificatory structure of ANZSOC, Divisions represent the broadest categories of offences. The Sub-division and group levels provide increasingly detailed dissections of the broad categories. The 2011 version of ANZSOC is used to classify offence data within this publication. For details of the classification refer to Appendix 1, or Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification, 2011 (cat. no. 1234.0).

            Aviation

            A Federal Offence Group – includes a range of offences impacting on the operation of aviation and airports throughout Australia.

            Case

            One or more criminal charges, relating to one or more individuals (or organisations), which are heard together by the court as one unit of work.

            Charge

            An allegation that has been laid before a court by the police, Director of Public Prosecutions or other prosecuting agency that an individual (or organisation) has committed a criminal offence.

            Child pornography offences

            The production, possession, distribution, or display of pornographic or abusive material of a child under the age of consent in written, photographic, film, video, digital or other format. This is ANZSOC Group 0322.

            Child sexual exploitation offences

            A Federal Offence Group – includes child pornography offences and using a carriage service to groom a child to engage in sexual activity.

            Children's Court

            A lower court level which is presided over by a judge/magistrate and has the jurisdiction to hear cases and sentence criminal charges against persons (generally) aged less than 18 years at the time the offence occurred. May also determine some minor indictable offences and conduct committal proceedings in relation to young people who have been charged with major indictable offences.

            Commercial/industry/financial regulation

            Breaches of regulations designed to protect an industrial, commercial or financial activity, comprising acts that are harmful to persons, acquisitive, or deceptive and are not directed at health and safety and pollution control (i.e. they cannot be appropriately placed elsewhere). These offences are classified to ANZSOC Sub-division 163.

            Commonwealth officials

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences such as bribing, threatening, harming or impersonating a Commonwealth official. Offences against foreign officials are also included.

            Commonwealth property

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences that relate to theft, burglary or damage occurring on, or in relation to, Commonwealth property.

            Commonwealth sexual offences

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences of a sexual nature such as sex trafficking, debt bondage and sexual slavery. Sexual offences against a minor are also counted in this category.

            Communications

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences relating to the use of computers, postal service and other telecommunications devices as channels in the carriage of crime, such as threatening others via the Internet.

            Court level

            Represents the level (of court) in which a defendant's case(s) was finalised (see Finalised defendant). Court levels can be distinguished from one another based on the extent of their legal powers (see Jurisdiction). For the purposes of this publication Court level has been grouped into the following three categories:

            • Higher Court (Intermediate and Supreme Court)
            • Magistrates' Court (Court of Summary Jurisdiction)
            • Children's Court.
               

            Court of Summary Jurisdiction

            Lower courts which are presided over by a magistrate and have the jurisdiction to hear and sentence matters relating to summary (i.e. less serious) offences, or conduct preliminary (committal) hearings for indictable offences. In some circumstances, this court level may also deal with less serious indictable offences known as 'minor indictable' or 'triable either way' offences. Includes Magistrates' Courts, Local Courts or Courts of Petty Sessions (depending on the state/territory), and Children’s Courts.

            Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons

            Dangerous or negligent acts (though not intended to cause harm) which actually, or potentially, result in injury to oneself or another person. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 04, which includes the following Sub-divisions:

            • Dangerous or negligent operation of a vehicle (041)
            • Other dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons (049).
               

            Date of finalisation

            The latest date on which all charges laid against a defendant within the one case are regarded as formally completed, and the defendant ceases to be an active unit of work for that particular court level.

            Date of initiation

            The date in which a defendant’s case is initiated into the court, and can be either the date of committal or the date of registration (depending on the process of entry into that level of court). For defendants committed from a Magistrates' Court to a Higher Court, the date of committal is used for the date of initiation. For defendants who have any other method of initiation, including direct presentment to a Higher Court by ex-officio, the date of registration for that court level is used as the date of initiation. Where there are multiple dates of initiation for a defendant (i.e. for different charges) and these charges were all finalised at the same time, the earliest date of initiation is used (for the purposes of deriving duration (i.e. length) of a defendant(s) case for this publication).

            Defence

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences which breach defence force legislation and involve defence force personnel or property.

            Defendant

            A person or organisation against whom one or more criminal charges have been laid, which are heard together as one unit of work by a court level.

            District Court

            See: Intermediate Court

            Drugs

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences relating to the import/export, manufacturing, supply, possession and/or use of drugs or other illicit substances as well as the misrepresentation of licit drug products.

            Duration

            The time elapsed between the earliest date of initiation and the latest date of finalisation for a defendant whose case(s) has ceased to be an item of work for the particular court level.

            Environment

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences related to environmental protection, wildlife conservation and the harming of protected species. Environmental offences related to the sea are counted under the Maritime and Illegal fishing category.

            Federal defendant

            A person or organisation who has been finalised in the state and territory Criminal courts for at least one offence against Commonwealth legislation.

            Federal Offence Groups

            A broad categorisation of federal offences, developed in collaboration with the Australian Department of Home Affairs. The Federal Offence Groups do not relate to ANZSOC; rather, they are amalgamations of Commonwealth Acts/Sections. See Appendix 4 for a concordance between Federal Offence Groups and the associated Commonwealth Acts/Sections.

            Finalised defendant

            A person or organisation for whom all charges relating to the one case have been formally completed so that the defendant ceases to be an item of work to be dealt with by the court.

            Financial

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences relating to the improper handling of finance, such as bankruptcy, import/export of counterfeit money and the improper use of public money.

            Fraud

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences relating to false or misleading statements for personal gain such as insurance claims, identification and misrepresentation of accreditation. Trademark and copyright infringements are also counted in this category.

            Fraud, deception and related offences

            Offences involving a dishonest act or omission carried out with the purpose of deceiving to obtain benefit. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 09 which includes the following Sub-divisions:

            • Obtain benefit by deception (091)
            • Forgery and counterfeiting (092)
            • Deceptive business/government practices (093)
            • Other fraud and deception offences (099).
               

            Harassment and threatening behaviour

            Actions that harass or are intended to harass, threaten or invade the privacy of an individual, not amounting to an assault, sexual assault, stalking, blackmail or extortion. The action can be face-to-face, written, or made through a carriage service (e.g. phone, computer, etc.). These offences are classified to ANZSOC Sub-division 053 which includes the following Groups:

            • Harassment and private nuisance (0531)
            • Threatening behaviour (0532).
               

            Higher Court

            The criminal jurisdiction of an Intermediate or Supreme Court.

            Homicide and related offences

            Unlawfully kill, attempt to unlawfully kill, or conspiracy to kill another person. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 01 which includes the following Sub-divisions:

            • Murder (011)
            • Attempted murder (012)
            • Manslaughter and driving causing death (013).
               

            Illegal fishing

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences relating to unlawful fishing in Australian waters, such as fishing without a licence and fishing by foreign vessels.

            Illegal use/importation of weapons

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences related to the illegal use or removal of firearms, other weapons and explosives.

            Illicit drug offences

            The possession, sale, dealing or trafficking, importing or exporting, manufacturing or cultivating of drugs or other substances prohibited under legislation. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 10 which includes the following Sub-divisions:

            • Import or export illicit drugs (101)
            • Deal or traffic in illicit drugs (102)
            • Manufacture or cultivate illicit drugs (103)
            • Possess and/or use illicit drugs (104)
            • Other illicit drug offences (109).
               

            Immigration offences

            Offences involving illegal entry, people smuggling across international borders, or the failure to comply with immigration visa conditions, including undertaking employment when not permitted, or overstaying exit date. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Group 1543.

            Import or export illicit drugs

            Actions resulting or intended to result in either the importation of illicit drugs or controlled substances into Australia, or the exportation of illicit drugs or controlled substances from Australia. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Sub-division 101 which includes the following Groups:

            • Import illicit drugs (1011)
            • Export illicit drugs (1012).
               

            Import/export offences

            A Federal Offence Group – includes breaches against import and export regulations set out by customs and quarantine control legislation.

            Indictable offence

            A serious criminal offence as defined by specific Commonwealth, state and territory legislation. Charges relating to indictable offences generally require a trial and/or sentence hearing in a Higher Court. Under some circumstances, a defendant can elect to have these charges dealt with in a Court of Summary Jurisdiction.

            Intermediate Court

            Higher Courts which are presided over by a judge and have legal powers that fall between those of the Court of Summary Jurisdiction and a Higher Court, to trial and sentence matters relating to most indictable (i.e. serious) offences; includes District Courts and County Courts (depending on the state/territory). Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory do not have an Intermediate Court and all indictable offences are heard in the Supreme Court.

            International

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences initiated overseas or related to foreign persons such as harming Australians overseas, war crimes, recruitment to serve in armed forces in foreign states and the transfer of prisoners across borders.

            Jurisdiction

            The legal power or authority which may be exercised by a particular court level within which, judgements or orders of the court can be enforced or executed. Each court level has its own defined jurisdictional limits and these vary across states and territories.

            Justice

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences related to breach of justice orders, escaping from custody or immigration detention, subverting the course of justice and failure to vote.

            Local Court

            See: Court of Summary Jurisdiction.

            Magistrates' Court

            A lower court presided over by a magistrate which has the jurisdiction to hear and sentence summary (i.e. less serious) offences and to conduct preliminary (committal) hearings for indictable offences. In some circumstances, this court level may also deal with less serious indictable offences known as 'minor indictable' or 'triable either way' offences. Includes the Local Court and Court of Petty Sessions (depending on the state/territory). See: Court of Summary Jurisdiction for further information.

            Maritime

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences occurring in or affecting Australia's maritime environment, excluding illegal fishing.

            Mean

            The sum of the value of each observation in a dataset divided by the number of observations. This is also known as the arithmetic average.

            Median

            The middle value in a distribution when values are arranged in ascending or descending order.

            Method of finalisation

            Refers to the way in which a criminal charge(s) for a defendant has been completed (finalised) by the court, so that it ceases to be an item of work for that particular court level. The Method of finalisation classification (Appendix 2) presents a full list of the categories/methods of finalisation in scope of this publication, including definitions for each of these.

            Migration

            A Federal Offence Group – includes breaches of Australian citizenship and migration legislation such as passport fraud, falsely holding a visa and breaking visa conditions.

            Minor indictable offence

            See: Triable either way offence.

            Miscellaneous offences

            Offences involving the breach of statutory rules or regulations, governing activities that are prima facie legal where such offences are not explicitly dealt with under any other ANZSOC Division. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 16 which includes the following Sub-divisions:

            • Defamation, libel and privacy offences (161)
            • Public health and safety offences (162)
            • Commercial/industry/financial regulation (163)
            • Other miscellaneous offences (169).
               

            National Offence Index

            The National Offence Index (NOI) provides an ordinal ranking of the offence categories in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC) (cat. no. 1234.0) according to perceived seriousness, in order to determine a defendant’s principal offence. The National Offence Index, 2018 (cat no. 1234.0.55.001) is available from the ABS website.

            Non-assaultive sexual offences

            Offences of a sexual nature, or intent thereof, against another person that do not involve physical contact with the person and where the person does not give consent, gives consent as a result of intimidation or deception, or consent is prescribed (i.e. the person is legally deemed incapable of giving consent because of youth, temporary or permanent (mental) incapacity or there is a familial relationship). These offences are classified to ANZSOC Sub-division 032 which includes the following Groups:

            • Non-assaultive sexual offences against a child (0321)
            • Child pornography offences (0322)
            • Sexual servitude offences (0323)
            • Non-assaultive sexual offences, n.e.c. (0329)
               

            Obtain benefit by deception

            The use of deception or impersonation with the intent of dishonestly obtaining property, goods, services, or other benefit, or to avoid dis-benefit. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Sub-division 091.

            Offences against government operations

            An act with the intent of resisting or hindering government officers or government operations, other than police, justice or government security officers. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Sub-division 154 which includes the following Groups:

            • Resist or hinder a government official (excluding police, justice officials, or government security officers) (1541)
            • Bribery involving government officials (1542)
            • Immigration offences (1543)
            • Offences against government operations, n.e.c. (1549).
               

            Offences against government operations n.e.c.

            Offences against government operations, other than those of a security nature, with the intent of impeding the normal functioning capacity of that operation. Included are offences against government statutory bodies or agencies that operate under specific government regulation. This is ANZSOC Group 1549.

            Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations

            An act or omission that is deemed to be prejudicial to the effective carrying out of justice procedures or any government operations. This includes general government operations as well as those specifically concerned with maintaining government security. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 15 which includes the following Sub-divisions:

            • Breach of custodial order offences (151)
            • Breach of community-based orders (152)
            • Breach of violence and non-violence restraining orders (153)
            • Offences against government operations (154)
            • Offences against government security (155)
            • Offences against justice procedures (156).
               

            Original jurisdiction

            The power of a court to hear criminal charges against a defendant for the first time (as opposed to on appeal) and determine whether or not a defendant is proven guilty. See: Jurisdiction

            Other (federal offence)

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences that have not been classified elsewhere.

            People smuggling

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences related to the organised movement of people into Australia illegally.

            Plea

            A formal statement made by, or on behalf of, the defendant in response to a criminal charge that has been laid in a court. The nature of this response indicates whether or not the defendant intends to contest that charge.

            Principal federal offence

            The offence category, based on ANZSOC, that describes the most serious offence type associated with a finalised federal defendant. The most serious offence is determined by how the offences were finalised and/or the rankings in the National Offence Index, 2018 (cat. no. 1234.0.55.001). For more information see Explanatory Notes 34–37.

            Principal sentence

            The main (or most serious) sentence dealt to a defendant who has been proven guilty, based on the hierarchy of the Sentence Type Classification. This classification (Appendix 3) presents a full list of categories/types of sentences in scope of this publication, including definitions for each of these.

            Proceeds of crime

            A Federal Offence Group – includes the handling of money or property gained through criminal activity.

            Prohibited and regulated weapons and explosives offences

            Offences involving prohibited or regulated weapons and explosives. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 11 which includes the following Sub-divisions:

            • Prohibited weapons/explosives offences (111)
            • Regulated weapons/explosives offences (112).
               

            Property damage and environmental pollution

            The wilful and/or unlawful destruction, damage, defacement or pollution of public, private, or community property – where 'destruction' means altering the property in any way so as to render it imperfect or inoperative. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 12 which includes the following Sub-divisions:

            • Property damage (121)
            • Environmental pollution (122).
               

            Proven guilty

            An outcome of criminal proceedings in which a court accepts that a charge is proven through a guilty plea entered by a defendant, or the defendant is found guilty by the court. Proven guilty corresponds to Charge proven (110) in the Method of Finalisation classification (Appendix 2).

            Public order offences

            Offences relating to personal conduct that involves (or may lead to) a breach of public order or decency, is indicative of criminal intent, or is otherwise regulated or prohibited on moral or ethical grounds. In most cases (but not all) these offences do not involve a specific victim or victims. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 13 which includes the following Sub-divisions:

            • Disorderly conduct (131)
            • Regulated public order offences (132)
            • Offensive conduct (133).
               

            Robbery, extortion and related offences

            Acts intended to unlawfully gain money, property or other items of value from, or cause detriment to another person by using the threat of force or any other coercive measure. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 06 which includes the following Sub-divisions:

            • Robbery (061)
            • Blackmail and extortion (062).
               

            Security

            A Federal Offence Group – includes offences related to the security of Commonwealth property such as espionage and treason.

            Sentence

            A penalty or penalties imposed by a court upon a defendant who is proven guilty of a criminal offence. A sentence can also be called an order. See: Principal sentence.

            Sexual assault and related offences

            Acts (or intent of acts) of a sexual nature against another person, where these are non-consensual or where consent is proscribed. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 03 which includes the following Sub-divisions:

            • Sexual assault (031)
            • Non-assaultive sexual offences (032).
               

            Social security

            A Federal Offence Group – includes making false claim or statement in relation to social security benefits, pensions and allowances.

            Summary offence

            A criminal offence which is regarded as less serious relative to an indictable offence, as defined by specific Commonwealth, state or territory legislation. Charges relating to summary offences are generally dealt with by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction. However, in some states and territories, a defendant with summary charges may be transferred to a Higher Court for sentencing (e.g. if the magistrate wants to impose a penalty which exceeds his /her jurisdictional powers or if they have other indictable offences in the same case that are to be transferred (see: Indictable offence).

            Supreme Court

            A Higher Court presided over by a judge, which deals with the most serious criminal charges and has jurisdiction to trial and sentence matters relating to all indictable offences. In states and territories that have an Intermediate Court, the Supreme Court is usually reserved to deal with the most serious indictable offences, such as murder.

            Tax

            A Federal Offence Group – includes tax fraud, failure to lodge a tax return or to pay tax, as well as offences related to non-registered tax agents.

            Theft and related offences

            The unlawful taking of (or obtaining) money or goods not involving the use of force, threat of force or violence, coercion, or deception, with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner (or possessor) of the use of the money or goods. Also includes the receiving or handling of money or goods obtained unlawfully. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 08 which includes the following Sub-divisions:

            • Motor vehicle theft and related offences (081)
            • Theft (except motor vehicles) (082)
            • Receive or handle proceeds of crime (083)
            • Illegal use of property (except motor vehicles) (084).
               

            Terrorism

            A Federal Offence Group – Includes terrorist acts, preparing or training for terrorist acts, or possessing things connected with terrorist acts.

            Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences

            Offences relating to vehicles and most forms of traffic offences, including offences pertaining to the licensing, registration, roadworthiness or use of vehicles, bicycle offences and pedestrian offences. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 14 which includes the following Sub-divisions:

            • Driver licence offences (141)
            • Vehicle registration and roadworthiness offences (142)
            • Regulatory driving offences (143)
            • Pedestrian offences (144).
               

            Transport

            A Federal Offence Group – includes interstate road offences and parking offences prosecuted under Commonwealth legislation.

            Triable either way offence

            An indictable offence which a defendant can elect to have heard either in a Court of Summary Jurisdiction before a magistrate or in a Higher Court before a judge and jury.

            Trial

            The examination of (and decision on) a matter of law or fact by a court where a defendant enters a not guilty plea or other defended plea. Trials are usually conducted before a judge and jury, whereby the judge rules on questions of law and the jury is responsible for determining whether or not the defendant is guilty (although a some states and territories also allow for a trial before a judge only). Defendants can be committed to trial via a committal proceeding, or an ex-officio indictment.

            Unlawful entry with intent/burglary, break and enter

            The unlawful entry (forced or unforced) of a structure with the intent to commit an offence. A structure is defined as a building that is contained by walls and can be secured in some form. This includes, but is not limited to, a dwelling (e.g. house, flat, caravan), office, bank, shop, factory, school and church. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Division 07.

            Quality declaration

            Institutional environment

            A federal defendant is someone charged with an offence against Commonwealth law. Commonwealth charges can be prosecuted by state and territory police agencies, the Australian Federal Police, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, state Directors of Public Prosecutions, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Australian Tax Office and other (generally Commonwealth) authorities. Information on federal defendants brought before the courts is recorded by the court administration authorities in each state and territory for operational and case management purpose. Federal Defendants statistics are based on data extracted from these administrative records. Data are supplied to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) by the courts administering agency for all states and territories except for Queensland (where they are supplied via the Office of the Government Statistician), and New South Wales (where they are supplied via the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research).

            Federal Defendants statistics are produced by the National Criminal Courts Statistics Unit (NCCSU) of the ABS. The NCCSU functions under an intergovernmental agreement between the ABS, the Australian Government Attorney General's Department and state and territory departments responsible for justice issues. One of the major functions of the NCCSU is to compile, analyse, publish and disseminate uniform national criminal courts statistics, subject to the provisions of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

            For information on the institutional environment of the ABS, including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment in the About Us section of the ABS website.

            Relevance

            The Federal Defendants collection provides statistics about defendants dealt with by the criminal jurisdictions of the Higher, Magistrates' and Children's Courts of Australia. Defendants include persons as well as organisations (for the Higher and Magistrates' Courts only) charged with at least one offence against Commonwealth legislation. Comparable statistics are provided for each of the states and territories and for Australia on the offences, case outcomes and sentence types associated with these defendants. If a person or organisation is a defendant in a number of criminal cases finalised within the courts during the reference period, this person or organisation will be counted more than once within that reference period.

            Timeliness

            Data from the Federal Defendants collection are released annually in Federal Defendants, Australia (cat. no. 4515.0) and accompanying data cubes within 12 months of the reference period. The reference period is the financial year (1 July to 30 June). Each release includes data for the current reference year, along with time series for some data items.

            Accuracy

            Federal Defendants data are extracted from each state and territory's court administration system. The data are not subject to sampling error. Non-sampling errors can arise from inaccuracies in recording by courts agencies, when the data are extracted, processed and disseminated. The ABS has limited influence over any errors associated with data recorded by external sources. The ABS provides a collection manual which outlines the scope, coverage, counting rules and data item definitions for the collection to minimise data extraction errors. Efficient processing and editing procedures are in place within the ABS to minimise processing and reporting errors.

            Revisions to published data are irregular. Revisions to historical data are made when new information about the comparability of data over time is identified. This may occur when errors or omissions are identified in the administrative data supplied to the ABS in prior years. Any revisions are noted in the publication.

            Coherence

            In order to ensure consistency in the data for each state and territory, Federal Defendants statistics are compiled according to national standards and classifications. A key classification is the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC), 2011 (cat. no. 1234.0), as well as the related National Offence Index (NOI) (cat. no. 1234.0.55.001). However, some differences still occur due to state and territory legislative requirements or to limitations of the various administrative data bases that are used to extract the data.

            Due to differing scope and counting rules the data in the Federal Defendants collection may not be comparable to data published in other national and state/territory publications.

            Interpretability

            The Federal Defendants publication contains detailed Explanatory Notes, appendices and Glossary that provide information on the data sources, counting rules, terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.

            A data dictionary, the National Criminal Courts Data Dictionary (cat. no. 4527.0) was developed by the ABS in collaboration with key stakeholders. It is a reference document which defines national data items and outlines methods for the use of 27 data elements and concepts that underpin the ABS and Council of Australian Governments (COAG) criminal courts collections. The data dictionary currently relates to the Higher and Magistrates' Criminal Courts.

            Accessibility

            The publication comprises summary text and a series of data cubes that provide detailed datasets at a national and state and territory level. For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070, or email client.services@abs.gov.au. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.

            Abbreviations

            Show all

            ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
            ACTAustralian Capital Territory
            ANZSOCAustralian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification
            ASOCAustralian Standard Offence Classification
            Aust.Australia
            cat.no.Catalogue number
            NCCJSNational Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics
            NCCSUNational Criminal Courts Statistics Unit
            n.e.c.not elsewhere classified
            n.f.d.not further defined
            no.number
            NOINational Offence Index
            NSWNew South Wales
            NTNorthern Territory
            QldQueensland
            SASouth Australia
            Tas.Tasmania
            Vic.Victoria
            WAWestern Australia