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Federal Defendants, Australia methodology

Reference period
2019-20 financial year

About this data

The Federal Defendants, Australia data relates to persons and organisations charged with an offence against Commonwealth legislation, whose case(s) have been finalised within the criminal jurisdictions of the Higher, Magistrates' or Children's Courts between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020.

The data covers federal defendant demographics, principal federal offence, sentencing and case duration information. Data on federal offenders in prison is included in Prisoners in Australia.

Defendants whose cases relate only to offences under state or territory legislation are not in scope of this release, but are included in Criminal Courts, Australia.

Charges against Commonwealth legislation 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.

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. However, 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.

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.

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.

    Data source

    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).

    To ensure consistency between the states and territories, each one is required to provide data coded to national classifications and standards.

      Counting methodology

      The principal counting unit for this collection is the finalised defendant.  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. The method of finalisation for each charge at case completion may be a guilty outcome, acquittal, withdrawal, transfer, or other outcome.

      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.

      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.

      For the first time in 2019–20, transfers have been excluded from defendant counts in some tables to remove the double-counting of defendants who were transferred and subsequently adjudicated in a different court level. Excluding transfers provides a more accurate representation of defendant characteristics, particularly for more serious offences where transfers are more common.

        Confidentialisation

        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, applied to the collection from 2013–14, involves small random adjustment of the data 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.

        The result of perturbation is that a given published cell value will be consistent across all tables, but the sum of the components may add to more or less than 100%. Readers are advised to use the published totals rather than deriving totals based on the components. 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.

        Key data items

        Court levels

        Higher Courts

        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’.

        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

        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

        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.

        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.

        Method of finalisation

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

        • Adjudicated finalisation – a judgement or decision by the court as to whether the defendant is guilty of the charge(s) against them, or acquitted
        • Transfers to other court levels – a court order for the criminal charge(s) to be transferred to another court level for adjudication or sentencing
        • Withdrawn by 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).

        For defendants who had multiple charges with varying outcomes, the method of finalisation is assigned based on the following order of precedence (note, some finalisation types are only applicable to specific court levels):

        • 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
        • No case to answer at committal
        • Charge unproven n.e.c.
        • Transfer from a Magistrates'/Children’s Court to a Higher Court n.f.d.
        • Committed for trial
        • Committed for sentence
        • Transfer from a Magistrates'/Children’s Court to a Higher Court n.e.c.
        • Transfer from a Higher Court to a Magistrates' Court
        • 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 (ANZSOC)

        Federal offences are charges against Commonwealth legislation. For this collection, federal offences have been coded to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC), 2011.

        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'.

        The preferred terminology to be used for ANZSOC offence ‘child pornography’ is now ‘child abuse material offences’ and this label has been included in the 2019–20 release.

        Where a defendant has more than one federal offence type, the Method of Finalisation and National Offence Index (NOI), a ranking of offences based on the concept of 'offence seriousness', are used to determine the principal federal offence. 

        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 having a guilty outcome for an offence of ‘obtain benefit by deception’, and acquitted for an offence of ‘threatening behaviour’, their principal federal offence would be ‘obtain benefit by deception’.

        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).

        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 groups

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

        The federal offence groups presented are based on the Commonwealth legislation the defendant was charged under, 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, following changes to federal legislation or emerging user needs.

        The federal offence groups are not an ABS standard nor related to ANZSOC, and may comprise offences that reside in different ANZSOC divisions. For the definitions of groups and the Commonwealth Acts, sections and ANZSOC categories contained within each group refer to the federal offence group categories.

        Note that prior to 2019–20, the category 'Commonwealth sexual offences' included sexual offences against a minor. These offences have now been included in the new ‘Child sexual abuse offences’ category, which is an expansion and re-labelling of the previous ‘Child sexual exploitation offences’ category. 

        The principal federal offence group for the defendant (based on the legislation), is the category associated with the principal federal offence (based on the ANZSOC). 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.

        Principal sentence

        The principal federal sentence is the most serious sentence given to a defendant for their federal offences with guilty outcomes. For ease of reading, the term is abbreviated to principal sentence throughout this publication.

        The determination of most serious sentence is based on the hierarchy of the Sentence Type Classification. This classification describes the types of sentences that are handed down by the court for offences with a guilty outcome, 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).

        Defendants can receive:

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

        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.

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

        In most cases, the principal 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 sentence is assigned independently of offence information, it is possible for this not to be the case (i.e. where the most serious offence with a guilty outcome has not incurred the most serious/largest sentence). There may also be cases where the sentence is for more than one offence (the principal federal offence and one or more other offences).

        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.

        Duration

        This ‘duration’ information presented is a measure of court timeliness, representing the time taken 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).

        Note that duration data for New South Wales and the Northern Territory are derived on a different basis (see ‘State and territory comparability’).

        Age of defendant

        The age in years presented in this collection refers to the age of the defendant at the date their matter(s) was finalised in the criminal courts.

        State and territory comparability

        National standards and classifications are used in this collection to produce nationally comparable data. 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 over time 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 matters able to be heard, and the sentencing options available to the courts).

        The Federal Defendants collection presents a subset of all defendants finalised in Australia's criminal courts, as published in Criminal Courts, Australia. However, a federal defendant may also be finalised for state or territory offences in the same reference period, so the difference between all defendants and federal defendants does not equal the count of defendants with state/territory offences.

        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.

        The following information highlights events or processes unique to a state or territory that may have impacted on the data for the Federal Defendants collection. Where a state or territory is not listed below, there are no specific notes for that state or territory for this release. For other issues specific to a state or territory that have impacted on the Criminal Courts collection more generally, refer to ‘State and territory specific information’ in the Methodology of Criminal Courts, Australia.

        New South Wales

        Duration data for the Magistrates' and Children's Courts are based on the date of first appearance rather than the date of registration, as date of registration is not captured in the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research's system (from which New South Wales courts data are derived). As such, the median duration in New South Wales Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts may be lower than in some other states and territories. This issue does not impact the Higher Courts data.

        Northern Territory

        Unlike other states and territories, the date of initiation in Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts in 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

        The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) historically had a high proportion of defendants with a principal federal offence of Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences compared with most other states and territories. This was due to parking offences being lodged under commonwealth legislation specific to the Australian National University. During 2019-20 a significant amount of these offences were lodged under the ACT Road Transport (Road Rules) Regulation which is outside the scope of the Federal Defendants collection, resulting in a decrease in the number of federal defendants in the ACT. 

        Method of finalisation classification

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        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 classification presents the different categories/types of method of finalisation in scope of the Federal Defendants, Australia publication, 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, please refer to State and territory comparability 

        CodeMethod of Finalisation Type and Description
        100Adjudicated 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

         110Charge Proven (Guilty outcome)
         

        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).
         120Charges 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.
        200Transfer 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.

         210Transfer 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).
         220Transfer 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.
         250Transfer 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.
         290Other 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(a).
        300Non-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.

         310Defendant 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.
         330Unfit 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.
         340Withdrawn 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.
         350Transfer to a non-court agency
         An outcome of court proceedings whereby the criminal charge(s) has been transferred to a non-court agency.
         390Other non-adjudicated finalisation, n.e.c.
         Other non-adjudicated finalisations which have not been described elsewhere (i.e. 310, 330, 340 and 350).
        900Not 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.

        Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC)

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        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

        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.

        Federal offence group

        Show all

        Federal offence group categoryDefinitionActs includedANZSOC divisions included
        AviationIncludes a range of offences impacting on the operation of aviation and airports throughout Australia.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 
        09 Fraud, deception and related 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 
        Child sexual abuse offencesIncludes sexual offences against a minor, child sexual abuse material offences and using a carriage service (such as phone or internet) to groom a child to engage in sexual activity.Criminal Code Act 199503 Sexual assault and related offences
        15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
        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 1971

        06 Robbery, extortion and related offences
        07 Unlawful entry with intent/burglary break and enter
        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.Crimes Act 1914
        Criminal Code Act 1995

        03 Sexual assault and related offences 
        05 Abduction, harassment and other offences against the person
        15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations

        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.Crimes Act 1914
        Criminal Code Act 1995
        Postal Services Act 1975
        Radio communications Act 1992

        03 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
        11 Prohibited and regulated weapons and explosives 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 1982

        04 Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons 
        09 Fraud, deception and related offences 
        13 Public order offences
        15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations

        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 1989
        04 Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons
        10 Illicit drug 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 1983 and 2019
        Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006
        16 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
        Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006
        Corporations Act 2001
        Crimes (Currency) Act 1981
        Criminal Code Act 1995
        Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988
        National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009
        08 Theft and related offences
        09 Fraud, deception and related offences
        12 Property damage and environmental pollution
        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 1995
        08 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 1984
        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
        Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956
        Export Control Act 1982
        Quarantine Act 1908
        03 Sexual assault and related offences 
        09 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.
        Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011
        Charter of the United Nations Act 1945
        Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978
        Criminal Code Act 1995
        Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995
        15 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
        Commonwealth Prisoners Act 1967
        Crimes Act 1914
        Criminal Code Act 1995
        Royal Commissions Act 1902
        Service and Execution of Process Act 1992
        09 Fraud, deception and related offences 
        15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
        16 Miscellaneous offences
        MaritimeIncludes offences occurring in or affecting Australia's maritime environment, excluding illegal fishing.Historic Shipwrecks Act 1978
        Marine Order 30 (Prevention of collisions) 2016
        Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Regulations 2003
        Navigation Act 2012

         

        04 Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons
        13 Public order 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 1958
        Passports Act 1938
        09 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.Criminal Code Act 1995
        Migration Act 1958
        09 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 1987
        08 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
        15 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.A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999
        Social Security (Administration) Act 1999
        Social Security Act 1991
        Student Assistance Act 1973
        09 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.A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999
        Excise Act 1901
        Taxation Administration Act 1953
        09 Fraud, deception and related offences
        15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
        16 Miscellaneous offences
        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
        TransportIncludes 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 1989
        Open Areas Parking Rule 2014
        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 (Assessment) Act 1989
        Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988
        Competition and Consumer Act 2010
        Criminal Code Act 1995
        Family Law Act 1975
        Marriage Act 1961
        Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011
        13 Public order offences
        15 Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
        16 Miscellaneous offences

        Sentence type classification

        Show all

        This classification includes sentence codes, categories and definitions for each sentence type included in the Federal Defendants, Australia 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 State and territory comparability.

        CodeSentence Type and Description
        1000Custodial 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

         1100Custody 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

          1110Life 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).
          1120Imprisonment
         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.
          1130Periodic 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.
          1140Juvenile 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.
         1200Custody 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.

          1210Intensive 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).
          1220Home 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).
          1290Other 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).
         1300Fully 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

          1310Fully 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).
          1320Fully 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.
        2000Non-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

         2100Community 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

          2110Community service orders
         An order requiring a person to undertake a specified number of hours of unpaid work for the community.
          2120Probation orders
         An order requiring a person to report periodically to an authorised officer. Excludes orders that contain periods of restricted liberty.
          2130Treatment 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.
         2140Referral to conference
         An order requiring a person to attend a group, family or community conference.
         2200Monetary 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.

          2210Fine
         A monetary penalty requiring a person to pay a sum of money to the Crown.
          2220Orders 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.
          2290Other monetary orders, n.e.c.
         Other monetary orders, not described elsewhere (i.e. 2210 or 2220), such as vehicle impoundment costs.
         2900Other 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.

          2910Good 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.
          2920License 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.
          2930Forfeiture of property orders
         An order that deprives a person of his/her property as a penalty for some act or omission.
          2940Nominal penalty
         An order which releases a person without a specific penalty, which may or may not have conditions attached. Includes Rising of the Court(a) and discharge/dismissal.
          2990Other non-custodial orders, n.e.c.
         Other non-custodial orders that have not been described elsewhere (i.e. 2910, 2920, 2930 or 2940).
        9000Unknown/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.

        Abbreviations

        Show all

        ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
        ACTAustralian Capital Territory
        ANZSOCAustralian and New Zealand Sentence Offence Classification
        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

         

        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. For details of the classification refer to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC), 2011.

        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 (also referred to as Child abuse material offences)

        The production, possession, distribution, or display of pornographic or abusive material of a child under the age of consent. These offences are classified to ANZSOC Group 0322. The preferred terminology to cover such offences is now “Child abuse material offences”, but the 2019–20 publication uses an expanded label for clarity. 

        Child sexual abuse offences

        A federal offence group from 2019–20 – includes child sexual abuse offences, child abuse material offences, and using a carriage service to groom a child to engage in sexual activity.

        Child sexual exploitation offences

        A federal offence group prior to 2019–20 – includes child abuse material offences and using a carriage service to groom a child to engage in sexual activity. This category has now been expanded to include Commonwealth sexual offences against a minor, and re-labelled Child sexual abuse offences.

        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. This category previously included sexual offences against a minor, but from 2019–20 these offences are included in Child sexual abuse offences.

        Communications

        A federal offence group – includes offences relating to the use of computers, phones, postal service and other telecommunications devices as channels in the carriage of crime, such as threatening others online.

        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.

        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 against whom one or more criminal charges have been laid under Commonwealth legislation.

        Federal offence group

        A broad categorisation of federal offences, developed in collaboration with the Australian Department of Home Affairs. The federal offence group categories do not relate to ANZSOC; rather, they are amalgamations of Commonwealth Acts/Sections. For further detail and concordance between federal offence group categories and the associated Commonwealth Acts/Sections see Federal Offence Group.

        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. Most commonly finalisation occurs when a defendant is found guilty (either by entering a guilty plea or being found guilty by the court) and sentenced, acquitted, or transferred to another court level, or when the case is withdrawn by the prosecution.

        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).
           

        Guilty outcome

        Defendants who either pled guilty, were found guilty by the court or were found guilty ex parte. In previous publications the phrase used for these outcomes was “proven guilty”. While the phrase has changed the definition remains the same.

        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.

        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 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), 2011 according to perceived seriousness, in order to determine a defendant’s principal offence. The National Offence Index 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 / child abuse material 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 federal offence type associated with a finalised defendant. The most serious offence is determined by how the offences were finalised and/or the rankings in the National Offence Index.

        Principal (federal) 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 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).
           

        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. This may be a custodial sentence such as imprisonment or a non-custodial sentence such as a fine. 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.