Recorded Crime - Offenders

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Statistics about offenders proceeded against by police including age, sex, Indigenous status and most serious offence.

Reference period
2020-21 financial year

Key statistics

In 2020-21:

  • there were 359,975 offenders proceeded against by police in Australia
  • the offender rate was the lowest since the time series began in 2008-09
  • there were 29,218 offenders proceeded against for COVID-19 related offences
  • illicit drug offences decreased for the fifth consecutive year

Impact of COVID-19 on data

Australia’s federal, state and territory governments put restrictions in place to slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) from March 2020. The restrictions, and associated penalties for breaching these restrictions, varied across the jurisdictions. This should be considered when interpreting the Recorded Crime – Offenders data for associated reference periods.

Offences specifically related to the COVID-19 restrictions were coded to ANZSOC 1629 Public health and safety offences, n.e.c.  Data about offenders who were proceeded against by police for at least one of these offences are presented in the COVID-19 related offences section.

Australia

There were 359,975 offenders proceeded against by police across Australia in 2020-21, a 4% decrease (down by 14,670 offenders) from the previous year.

The offender rate also decreased by 78 offenders to 1,599 offenders per 100,000 persons, the lowest offender rate since the beginning of the time series in 2008-09.

Principal offence type

The three most common principal offences were:

  • acts intended to cause injury with 82,942 offenders (23%)
  • illicit drug offences with 62,698 offenders (17%)
  • public order offences with 38,151 offenders (11%)

These offences have consistently been the three most common offence types since 2012-13.

Illicit drug offences decreased by 16% from the previous year (down 11,745 offenders). This is the fifth consecutive year that illicit drug offenders have decreased.

Miscellaneous offences increased by 70% (up 12,856 offenders) in 2020-21, most of which can be attributed to Victoria which more than doubled (from 7,630 to 19,692 offenders). This was largely due to fines being issued for COVID-19 related offences.

Sex

Three-quarters of offenders proceeded against by police were male.

The male offender rate was around three times higher than the female offender rate with:

  • 2,436 male offenders per 100,000 males
  • 782 female offenders per 100,000 females

Acts intended to cause injury was the most common principal offence for both male offenders (24% or 63,444 offenders) and female offenders (22% or 19,453 offenders).

Age

The median age of offenders in Australia rose to 31 years, an increase from 30 years of age in 2019-20. This is the oldest median age of offenders since the time series began in 2008-09.

Most offenders (71%) proceeded against by police were aged under 40 years.

New South Wales

There were 110,499 offenders proceeded against by police in New South Wales in 2020–21, a 6% decrease from the previous year.

The offender rate also decreased by 100 offenders to 1,542 offenders per 100,000 persons.

Principal offence type

Acts intended to cause injury was the most common principal offence for New South Wales in 2020–21 (31% or 34,199 offenders). This was an increase of 7% from the previous year (up 2,077 offenders), to the highest number in the time series.

Illicit drug offences decreased by 16% (2,639 offenders) from 2019–20. This was the largest decrease in the number of offenders by principal offence type in New South Wales.

Sex

More than three-quarters (76%) of offenders in New South Wales were male.

The offender rate by sex was:

  • 2,377 male offenders per 100,000 males
  • 724 female offenders per 100,000 females

Youth offenders

There were 18,128 offenders aged between 10 and 17 years in 2020–21, comprising 16% of total offenders in New South Wales. This was an increase of 2% (418 offenders) from the previous year, the first increase after three years of decreases.

The offender rate was higher among youth when compared with the total New South Wales offender population with:

  • 2,316 youth offenders per 100,000 persons aged between 10 and 17 years
  • 1,542 total offenders per 100,000 persons

The most common principal offences for youth offenders were:

  • fare evasion with 7,242 offenders (40%)
  • acts intended to cause injury with 3,604 offenders (20%)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders

There were 15,052 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders proceeded against during 2020–21.

More than half (55%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders had a principal offence of acts intended to cause injury (8,206 offenders).

Police proceedings

In 2020–21 there were 198,760 police proceedings in New South Wales. Of these:

  • 54% were court actions (106,382 proceedings), down 4% since 2019–20
  • 47% were non-court actions (92,382 proceedings), down 20% since 2019–20

Around a third (36%) of court actions were for acts intended to cause injury. More than half (56%) of non-court actions were for fare evasion.

Victoria

There were 78,554 offenders proceeded against by police in Victoria in 2020–21, an increase of 6% since 2019–20.

This increase was caused by a rise in miscellaneous offences which more than doubled (from 7,630 to 19,692 offenders). This was largely due to fines being issued for COVID-19 related offences.

The overall offender rate also increased by 71 offenders to 1,343 offenders per 100,000 persons.

Principal offence type

The most common principal offences in Victoria were:

  • miscellaneous offences with 19,692 offenders (25%)
  • acts intended to cause injury with 17,351 offenders (22%)

Sex

Males accounted for more than three-quarters (77%) of offenders in Victoria.

Offender rates increased for both males and females compared to 2019-20:

  • from 2,014 to 2,102 male offenders per 100,000 males
  • from 550 to 606 female offenders per 100,000 females

The increase in female offenders was largely driven by miscellaneous offences, which more than tripled since 2019-20 (from 1,523 to 5,104 offenders). This was largely due to fines being issued for COVID-19 related offences.

The female offender rate for this category also increased from 52 to 172 female offenders per 100,000 females.

Youth offenders

There were 6,531 offenders aged between 10 and 17 years, accounting for 8% of all offenders proceeded against in Victoria in 2019–20.

Over a quarter (26%) of youth offenders had a principal offence of acts intended to cause injury (1,708 offenders).

Youth offenders with a principal offence of miscellaneous offences increased by 53% in 2020–21 (to 891 offenders). This was largely due to fines being issued for COVID-19 related offences.

Police proceedings

There were 130,675 police proceedings in Victoria. This was an increase of 12% from the previous year.

Most police proceedings were court actions (62% or 81,042 proceedings). Of these:

  • court actions decreased by 4% (down by 2,900 proceedings)
  • non-court actions increased by 50% (up by 16,526 proceedings)

The increase in non-court actions was largely due to fines being issued for COVID-19 related offences.

Queensland

There were 84,389 offenders proceeded against by police in Queensland in 2020–21, a 5% decrease from 2019–20.

The offender rate decreased by 118 offenders to 1,857 offenders per 100,000 persons.

Principal offence type

A quarter of offenders (20,701 offenders) had a principal offence that was illicit drug related in 2020-21. This was the most common principal offence type in Queensland, despite a 13% decrease from the previous year (down 2,996 offenders).

The offender rate for illicit drug offences also decreased from 529 to 456 offenders per 100,000 persons, the lowest offender rate in the time series since 2011-12. 

After illicit drug offences, the next most common principal offence types (each with 14% of offenders) were:

  • public order offences with 12,170 offenders
  • acts intended to cause injury with 11,799 offenders
  • offences against justice with 11,397 offenders

Sex

Around three-quarters (73%) of offenders in Queensland were male.

The offender rates by sex in 2020–21 were:

  • 2,765 male offenders per 100,000 males
  • 981 female offenders per 100,000 females

Youth offenders

Offenders aged between 10 and 17 years accounted for 12% of all offenders in Queensland (10,314 offenders).

More than a fifth (22%) of youth offenders had a principal offence of acts intended to cause injury (2,220 offenders). This was an increase of 13% from 2019-20, making it the most common principal offence type for youth offenders.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders

There were 17,564 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders proceeded against by police in Queensland. This was slightly higher than the previous year, increasing by less than 1% (105 offenders). Considering population growth, the offender rate in Queensland for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders decreased from 9,485 to 9,299 offenders per 100,000 persons.

Acts intended to cause injury was the most common principal offence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders (23% or 4,063 offenders), an increase of 14% from 2019–20.

Police proceedings

There were 148,939 police proceedings in Queensland in 2020–21. The majority (80%) of these were court actions (119,608 proceedings).

A quarter of court actions were for illicit drug offences (29,258 proceedings). Over a third (34%) of non-court actions were for public order offences (9,888 proceedings).

Miscellaneous offences more than halved to 992 proceedings (down 54% or 1,164 proceedings) since 2019–20.

South Australia

There were 31,272 offenders proceeded against by police in South Australia in 2020–21, a decrease of 15% from the previous year.

The offender rate decreased by 375 offenders to 1,995 offenders per 100,000 persons.

Principal offence type

Half of all offenders had a principal offence of either:

  • illicit drug offences with 9,426 offenders (30%)
  • acts intended to cause injury with 6,273 offenders (20%)

The largest decreases in offender numbers occurred for:

  • illicit drug offences, down 3,442 offenders (27%)
  • fare evasion, down 1,497 offenders (87%)

Miscellaneous offences increased by 59% compared to the previous year (up 1,102 offenders), largely due to an increase in COVID-19 related offenders.

Sex

Three-quarters of all offenders proceeded against were male (23,366 offenders).

The male offender rate was more than three times higher than the female offender rate with:

  • 3,039 male offenders per 100,000 males
  • 984 female offenders per 100,000 females

Youth offenders

There were 2,083 offenders aged between 10 and 17 years in 2020–21, a decrease of 25% from 2019–20.

The rate of offending was lower for youth offenders than the total South Australian offender population with:

  • 1,254 youth offenders per 100,000 persons aged between 10 and 17 years
  • 1,995 offenders per 100,000 persons

The largest decreases in youth offender numbers were for the following principal offences:

  • fare evasion, down 90% (or 291 offenders)
  • public order offences, down 59% (or 163 offenders)
  • illicit drug offences, down 31% (or 157 offenders)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders

There were 4,036 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders in 2020–21.

The most common principal offence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders was acts intended to cause injury with 1,715 offenders (43%).

Police proceedings

There were 44,927 police proceedings in South Australia in 2020–21.

A quarter of all proceedings were for illicit drug offences. This was the most common principal offence proceeded against in 2020–21.

Western Australia

There were 35,468 offenders proceeded against by police in Western Australia in 2020–21, a decrease of 6% from the previous year.

The offender rate decreased by 112 offenders to 1,526 offenders per 100,000 persons.

Principal offence type

The most common principal offences were:

  • acts intended to cause injury with 7,488 offenders (21%)
  • illicit drug offences with 7,251 offenders (20%)

Offenders with a principal offence of fraud/deception decreased by 29% to 1,295 offenders.

Miscellaneous offences more than doubled to 1,032 offenders, largely due to an increase in COVID-19 related offences.

Sex

Almost three-quarters (73%) of offenders were male (25,819 offenders).

The male offender rate was almost three times higher than the female offender rate with:

  • 2,240 male offenders per 100,000 males
  • 812 female offenders per 100,000 females

Youth offenders

There were 5,678 offenders aged between 10 and 17 years proceeded against by police in Western Australia in 2020–21, comprising 16% of total offenders proceeded against.

The youth offender rate decreased by 93 offenders from 2019-20 to 2,137 offenders per 100,000 persons aged between 10 and 17 years.

A higher proportion of youth offenders had a principal offence of unlawful entry with intent compared with the total Western Australian offender population:

  • 16% of youth offenders (881 offenders)
  • 5% of total offenders (1,716 offenders)

Tasmania

There were 8,389 offenders proceeded against by police in Tasmania in 2020–21, a decrease of 4% from the previous year.

The offender rate decreased by 81 offenders to 1,744 offenders per 100,000 persons, the lowest rate recorded in the time series.

Principal offence type

Almost a quarter (24%) of offenders had a principal offence of acts intended to cause injury (2,007 offenders), most for assault (99% or 1,981 offenders). This was the most common principal offence for Tasmanian offenders in 2020–21.

Offenders with a principal offence of unlawful entry with intent decreased by 18% to the lowest number recorded in the time series (176 offenders).

Sex

Over three-quarters (76%) of offenders in Tasmania were male (6,345 offenders).

The male offender rate was more than three times higher than the female offender rate with:

  • 2,680 male offenders per 100,000 males
  • 834 female offenders per 100,000 females

The proportion of female offenders with a principal offence of theft and related offences was higher compared to male offenders:

  • 13% of female offenders (265 offenders)
  • 6% of male offenders (394 offenders)

Youth offenders

There were 846 offenders aged between 10 and 17 years in 2020–21, comprising 10% of total offenders proceeded against in Tasmania. This was slightly lower than the previous year, decreasing by 1% (10 offenders).

A higher proportion of youth offenders had a principal offence of theft and related offences compared with the total Tasmanian offender population:

  • 18% of youth offenders (148 offenders)
  • 8% of total offenders (663 offenders)

Almost a quarter (24%) of youth offenders had a principal offence of acts intended to cause injury (206 offenders). This was the most common principal offence for youth offenders in Tasmania in 2020-21.

Police proceedings

There were 13,381 police proceedings in Tasmania in 2020–21, a decrease of 6% from the previous year. Most proceedings were court actions (72% or 9,663 proceedings).

Northern Territory

There were 9,181 offenders proceeded against by police in the Northern Territory in 2020–21, a 3% decrease since the previous year.

The offender rate decreased by 190 offenders to 4,348 offenders per 100,000 persons.

Principal offence type

The most common principal offences were:

  • acts intended to cause injury with 3,160 offenders (34%)
  • public order offences with 2,392 offenders (26%)

Acts intended to cause injury increased by 19% in 2020–21 from the previous year.

The offender rate for public order offences decreased to the lowest in the time series at 1,133 offenders per 100,000 persons, down from 1,257 the previous year.

Sex

Almost three-quarters (74%) of all offenders in the Northern Territory were male (6,762 offenders).

The male offender rate was more than double the female rate with:

  • 6,259 male offenders per 100,000 males
  • 2,335 female offenders per 100,000 females

Youth offenders

Youth offenders accounted for 7% of all offenders in the Northern Territory with 663 offenders aged between 10 and 17 years proceeded against in 2020–21.

The most common principal offence for youth offenders was acts intended to cause injury (31% or 202 offenders).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders

There were 4,990 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders proceeded against by police in 2020–21. This was a decrease from the previous year of 4% (211 offenders).

More than half (56%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders were proceeded against for acts intended to cause injury (2,807 offenders).

Police proceedings

There were 13,543 police proceedings in the Northern Territory in 2020–21.

More than half (55%) of proceedings had a principal offence of:

  • public order offences (28% or 3,781 proceedings)
  • acts intended to cause injury (27% or 3,713 proceedings)

Australian Capital Territory

There were 2,222 offenders proceeded against by police in the Australian Capital Territory in 2020–21, an 8% decrease from the previous year.

The offender rate also decreased by 55 offenders to 593 offenders per 100,000 persons.

Principal offence type

Acts intended to cause injury was the most common principal offence (30% or 662 offenders).

Illicit drug offenders decreased by 23% since 2019–20. Despite the decrease, one in ten offenders had an illicit drug related principal offence (221 offenders).

Sex

The majority (78%) of offenders in the Australian Capital Territory were male (1,724 offenders).

The male offender rate was more than three and a half times higher than the female offender rate with:

  • 939 male offenders per 100,000 males
  • 258 female offenders per 100,000 females

Youth offenders

There were 260 offenders aged between 10 and 17 years in 2020–21, comprising 12% of total offenders in the Australian Capital Territory.

The offender rate was higher among youth when compared with the total Australian Capital Territory offender population with:

  • 645 youth offenders per 100,000 persons aged between 10 and 17 years
  • 593 total offenders per 100,000 persons

Almost a third (31%) of youth offenders had a principal offence of acts intended to cause injury (80 offenders).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders

There were 372 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders in 2020–21, an increase of 5% from the previous year.

Acts intended to cause injury was the most common principal offence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders (36% or 134 offenders).

Police proceedings

There were 3,073 police proceedings in the Australian Capital Territory in 2020–21, a decrease of 8% since 2019–20. The majority (81%) were court actions (2,482 proceedings).

Youth offenders

There were 44,496 offenders aged between 10 and 17 years proceeded against by police in 2020–21, at a rate of 1,785 offenders per 100,000 persons aged between 10 and 17 years.

Both the number of offenders and the offender rate dropped to the lowest recorded in the time series.

  1. Offenders aged between 10 and 17 years
  2. Rate per 100,000 persons aged between 10 and 17 years

Principal offence type

The most common principal offences for youth offenders were:

  • acts intended to cause injury with 9,856 offenders (22%)
  • theft and related offences with 5,212 offenders (12%)
  • illicit drug offences with 4,088 offenders (9%)

After rising to the highest number recorded in the time series last year, the number of youth offenders with a principal offence of robbery/extortion decreased by 20% to 1,425 offenders.

The number of youth offenders with a principal offence of theft decreased 22% to 5,212 offenders, the lowest recorded in the time series.

  1. Offenders aged between 10 and 17 years

Sex

The majority (70%) of youth offenders were male (31,018 offenders).

The male youth offender rate was more than twice the female youth offender rate:

  • 2,424 male offenders per 100,000 males aged between 10 and 17 years
  • 1,104 female offenders per 100,000 females aged between 10 and 17 years

Acts intended to cause injury was the most common principal offence for both males (20% or 6,181 offenders) and females (27% or 3,662 offenders).

A higher proportion of female youth offenders had a principal offence of theft than male youth offenders:

  • 17% of female youth offenders (2,234 offenders)
  • 10% of male youth offenders (2,967 offenders)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders

Data about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders is presented for selected states and territories. Based on an ABS assessment, Indigenous status data for other states is not of sufficient quality and/or does not meet ABS standards for national reporting in 2020–21.

Data on offenders proceeded against via penalty notices is excluded as there are a high proportion of unknown values for Indigenous status for this proceeding type. Therefore, offender counts and rates presented in this publication do not include all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders proceeded against by police.

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders proceeded against by police in 2020–21 was:

  • 17,564 in Queensland
  • 15,052 in New South Wales
  • 4,990 in the Northern Territory
  • 4,036 in South Australia
  • 372 in the Australian Capital Territory

The number of offenders increased since the previous year in:

  • the Northern Territory (up 211 offenders or 4%)
  • Queensland (up 105 offenders or less than 1%)
  • the Australian Capital Territory (up 18 offenders or 5%)

Considering population growth, the offender rate in Queensland decreased from 9,485 to 9,299 offenders per 100,000 persons.

Acts intended to cause injury was the most common principal offence across the states and territories for which data is available.

Sex

The majority of offenders were male:

  • 79% in the Northern Territory
  • 74% in the Australian Capital Territory
  • 72% in New South Wales
  • 68% in South Australia
  • 68% in Queensland

Age

Across the states and territories for which data is available, the most common age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders was between:

  • 15 and 19 years in Queensland (3,005 offenders or 17%)
  • 20 and 24 years in New South Wales (2,384 offenders or 16%)
  • 25 and 29 years in both the Northern Territory (807 offenders or 16%) and the Australian Capital Territory (78 offenders or 21%)
  • 30 and 34 years in South Australia (653 offenders or 16%)

Times proceeded against in the last 12 months

The mean number of times Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders were proceeded against by police was:

  • 2.5 times in New South Wales
  • 2.4 times in Queensland
  • 2.2 times in South Australia
  • 1.8 times in the Australian Capital Territory
  • 1.7 times in the Northern Territory

Police proceedings

Due to quality and/or comparability issues, data is not presented for:

  • police proceedings in Western Australia
  • method of proceeding in South Australia and the Northern Territory

The total number of police proceedings recorded in 2020-21 were:

  • 198,760 in New South Wales
  • 148,939 in Queensland
  • 130,675 in Victoria
  • 44,927 in South Australia
  • 13,543 in the Northern Territory
  • 13,381 in Tasmania
  • 3,073 in the Australian Capital Territory

The numbers of proceedings decreased in all published states and territories except Victoria, which increased by 12% (13,628 proceedings). In Victoria, miscellaneous offence proceedings more than tripled (up 24,079) as a result of fines issued for COVID-19 related offences.

The most common principal offences proceeded against by police were:

  • public order offences in the Northern Territory (28%) and Tasmania (19%)
  • fare evasion in New South Wales (26%)
  • miscellaneous offences in Victoria (26%)
  • acts intended to cause injury in the Australian Capital Territory (25%)
  • illicit drug offences in South Australia (25%) and Queensland (24%)

Court actions

The majority of police proceedings were court actions in all published states and territories:

  • 81% in the Australian Capital Territory
  • 80% in Queensland
  • 72% in Tasmania
  • 62% in Victoria
  • 54% in New South Wales

The most common principal offences for court proceedings were:

  • acts intended to cause injury in New South Wales (36%), the Australian Capital Territory (29%), Victoria (26%) and Tasmania (24%)
  • illicit drug offences in Queensland (25%)

Non-court actions

The most common principal offence for non-court proceedings were:

  • miscellaneous offences in Victoria (65%)
  • fare evasion in New South Wales (56%)
  • public order offences in Tasmania (46%), Queensland (34%) and the Australian Capital Territory (33%)

In Victoria there was a 50% increase in non-court proceedings from 2019-20 driven by fines issued for COVID-19 related offences.

Family and domestic violence statistics

The data presented in this section is experimental, with further assessment required to ensure comparability and quality of the data. Caution should be exercised when using the data and making comparisons across states and territories.

There were 80,496 offenders proceeded against by police for at least one family and domestic violence (FDV) related offence in 2020–21, an increase of 7% since the previous year. This was around one in five (22%) offenders recorded nationally.

The offender rate was 358 FDV offenders per 100,000 persons.

Sex

Around four in five FDV offenders were male (81% or 64,904 offenders).

The rate of FDV offending was around four times higher for males than for females:

  • 585 male FDV offenders per 100,000 males
  • 136 female FDV offenders per 100,000 females

Age

The median age of FDV offenders was 34 years. This was slightly higher than the median age of all offenders who were proceeded against by police during 2020–21 (31 years).

The most common age for FDV offenders was between:

  • 30 and 34 years (16%) for males (10,389 offenders)
  • 25 and 29 years (15%) for females (2,375 offenders)

Principal offence type

The most common principal FDV offences were:

  • assault, comprising just over half (51%) of all FDV offenders (40,881 offenders)
  • breach of violence and non-violence orders, comprising over a quarter (28%) of all FDV offenders (22,433 offenders)

New South Wales

There were 29,903 offenders proceeded against for an FDV related offence in New South Wales, an increase of 9% (2,378 offenders) from the previous year.

During 2020–21:

  • FDV offenders accounted for over a quarter (27%) of all offenders proceeded against in New South Wales
  • the offender rate was 417 FDV offenders per 100,000 persons

The majority of FDV offenders in New South Wales:

  • had a principal offence of acts intended to cause injury (77%)
  • were male (77%)
  • were proceeded against once in the year (80%)

The male offender rate was three and a half times higher than the female offender rate with:

  • 655 male FDV offenders per 100,000 males
  • 186 female FDV offenders per 100,000 females

There were 38,672 FDV related proceedings in New South Wales, mostly court actions (97%).

Victoria

There were 17,448 offenders proceeded against for an FDV related offence in Victoria, an increase of 3% (523 offenders) from the previous year.

During 2020–21:

  • FDV offenders accounted for 22% of all offenders proceeded against in Victoria
  • the offender rate was 298 FDV offenders per 100,000 persons

The majority of FDV offenders in Victoria:

  • had a principal offence of acts intended to cause injury (55%)
  • were male (83%)
  • were proceeded against once in the year (75%)

The male offender rate was almost five times higher than the female offender rate with:

  • 501 male FDV offenders per 100,000 males
  • 102 female FDV offenders per 100,000 females

There were 24,559 FDV proceedings in Victoria, mostly court actions (99%).

Queensland

There were 15,730 offenders proceeded against for an FDV related offence in Queensland, an increase of 13% (1,831 offenders) from the previous year.

During 2020–21:

  • FDV offenders accounted for 19% of all offenders proceeded against in Queensland
  • the offender rate was 346 FDV offenders per 100,000 persons

The majority of FDV offenders in Queensland:

  • had a principal offence of breach of violence and non-violence orders (69%)
  • were male (82%)
  • were proceeded against once in the year (73%)

The male offender rate was almost five times higher than the female offender rate with:

  • 578 male FDV offenders per 100,000 males
  • 122 female FDV offenders per 100,000 females

There were 22,524 FDV proceedings in Queensland, mostly court actions (96%).

South Australia

There were 4,970 offenders proceeded against for an FDV related offence in South Australia, an increase of less than 1% (7 offenders) from the previous year.

During 2020–21:

  • FDV offenders accounted for 16% of all offenders proceeded against in South Australia
  • the offender rate was 317 FDV offenders per 100,000 persons

The majority of FDV offenders in South Australia:

  • had a principal offence of acts intended to cause injury (74%)
  • were male (85%)
  • were proceeded against once in the year (77%)

The male offender rate was almost six times higher than the female offender rate with:

  • 546 male FDV offenders per 100,000 males
  • 96 female FDV offenders per 100,000 females

There were 6,897 FDV proceedings in South Australia during 2020–21.

Western Australia

There were 7,417 offenders proceeded against for an FDV related offence in Western Australia, a decrease of 2% (171 offenders) from the previous year.

During 2020–21:

  • FDV offenders accounted for 21% of all offenders proceeded against in Western Australia
  • the offender rate was 319 FDV offenders per 100,000 persons

In Western Australia:

  • acts intended to cause injury was the most common principal FDV offence (48%)
  • most FDV offenders were male (83%)

The male offender rate was five times higher than the female offender rate with:

  • 534 male FDV offenders per 100,000 males
  • 107 female FDV offenders per 100,000 females

Tasmania

There were 1,437 offenders proceeded against for an FDV related offence in Tasmania, an increase of 8% (100 offenders) from the previous year.

During 2020–21:

  • FDV offenders accounted for 17% of all offenders proceeded against in Tasmania
  • the offender rate was 299 FDV offenders per 100,000 persons

The majority of FDV offenders in Tasmania:

  • had a principal offence of acts intended to cause injury (64%)
  • were male (79%)
  • were proceeded against once in the year (73%)

The male offender rate was almost four times higher than the female offender rate with:

  • 480 male FDV offenders per 100,000 males
  • 125 female FDV offenders per 100,000 females

There were 2,036 FDV court action proceedings in Tasmania.

Northern Territory

There were 3,080 offenders proceeded against for an FDV related offence in the Northern Territory, an increase of 18% (475 offenders) from the previous year.

During 2020–21:

  • FDV offenders accounted for 34% of all offenders proceeded against in the Northern Territory
  • the offender rate was 1,459 FDV offenders per 100,000 persons

The majority of FDV offenders in the Northern Territory:

  • had a principal offence of acts intended to cause injury (75%)
  • were male (82%)
  • were proceeded against once in the year (77%)

The male offender rate was four and a half times higher than the female offender rate with:

  • 2,347 male FDV offenders per 100,000 males
  • 522 female FDV offenders per 100,000 females

There were 4,065 FDV proceedings in the Northern Territory.

Australian Capital Territory

There were 510 offenders proceeded against for an FDV related offence in the Australian Capital Territory, a decrease of 13% (74 offenders) from the previous year.

During 2020–21:

  • FDV offenders accounted for almost a quarter (23%) of all offenders proceeded against in the Australian Capital Territory
  • the offender rate was 136 FDV offenders per 100,000 persons

The majority of FDV offenders in the Australian Capital Territory:

  • had a principal offence of acts intended to cause injury (59%)
  • were male (80%)
  • were proceeded against once in the year (88%)

The male offender rate was about four times higher than the female offender rate with:

  • 222 male FDV offenders per 100,000 males
  • 54 female FDV offenders per 100,000 females

There were 606 FDV proceedings in the Australian Capital Territory, mostly court actions (95%).

Offenders of FDV related breach of violence and non-violence orders

There were 41,248 offenders (51% of all FDV offenders) proceeded against by police for at least one breach of an FDV related violence or non-violence order in 2020–21, an increase of 10% from the previous year. Of these:

  • 84% were male (34,573 offenders)
  • the median age was 34 years

Across the states and territories, the number of offenders proceeded against for at least one breach of an FDV related violence or non-violence order was:

  • 13,284 in Queensland
  • 10,349 in New South Wales
  • 9,614 in Victoria
  • 3,567 in Western Australia
  • 1,840 in South Australia
  • 1,602 in the Northern Territory
  • 818 in Tasmania
  • 169 in the Australian Capital Territory

COVID-19 related offences

The data presented in this section is based on offenders who were proceeded against by state and territory police for at least one COVID-19 related offence during 2020–21. Caution should be exercised when using the data and making comparisons across time periods or states and territories.

There were 29,218 offenders proceeded against for at least one COVID-19 related offence in 2020-21. The majority (79%) were proceeded against in Victoria (23,120 offenders).

The number of offenders proceeded against for COVID-19 related offences in other states and territories were:

  • 2,357 in New South Wales
  • 2,077 in South Australia
  • 746 in Western Australia
  • 694 in Queensland
  • 114 in Tasmania
  • 100 in the Northern Territory
  • 18 in the Australian Capital Territory

Sex

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of all COVID-19 related offenders in Australia were male.

Most COVID-19 related offenders across each state and territory were male, ranging from 62% in Western Australia to 78% in the Australian Capital Territory.

Age

Over a third (36%) of COVID-19 offenders were aged between 20 and 29 years (10,621 offenders).

The median age varied across the states and territories from 25 years in New South Wales to 37 years in South Australia.

The median age was slightly higher for males than for females:

  • 30 years for males
  • 28 years for females

Times proceeded against in the last 12 months

The majority of COVID-19 offenders were proceeded against by police only once during the reference period across all of the selected states and territories.

COVID-19 related proceedings

Due to quality and/or comparability issues, data is not presented for:

  • police proceedings in Western Australia
  • method of proceeding in South Australia and the Northern Territory

The number of proceedings for a COVID-19 related offence in 2020-21 were:

  • 32,087 in Victoria
  • 2,618 in New South Wales
  • 2,105 in South Australia
  • 714 in Queensland
  • 122 in Tasmania
  • 100 in the Northern Territory
  • 20 in the Australian Capital Territory

Most COVID-19 related proceedings were non-court actions in the published states and territories, with the exception of Tasmania. The proportions of non-court actions were:

  • 94% in Victoria
  • 93% in New South Wales
  • 89% in Queensland
  • 65% in the Australian Capital Territory
  • 43% in Tasmania

Data downloads

Guide to finding data in the Recorded Crime - Offenders publication tables

List of data items by data cube and table. 

Offenders, Australia

National data by principal offence, sex and age. 

Offenders, states and territories

Data by state/territory, principal offence, sex, age and number of times proceeded against. 

Youth offenders

National and state/territory data for offenders aged between 10 and 17 years including principal offence and sex.

Indigenous status, selected states and territories

Data by Indigenous status, principal offence, sex, age and number of times proceeded against for NSW, Qld, SA, NT & ACT. 

Police proceedings, selected states and territories

Data by principal offence (all states/territories except WA) and method of proceeding data for NSW, Vic., QLD, Tas. and ACT.

Family and domestic violence, experimental data

National and state/territory data by principal offence, sex, age, times proceeded against, Indigenous status and method of proceeding. 

Offenders of COVID-19 related offences

National and state/territory data by sex, age, times proceeded against and method of proceeding.

Recorded Crime - Offenders, 2020-21

All Recorded Crime - Offenders, 2020-21 data download files.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 4519.0.

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