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Newsletters - Crime and Justice Statistics - Issue Number 11, October 2001

In this issue:
  1. National Criminal Justice Statistical Framework
  2. Publications
  3. Collections
  4. Analysis Projects
  5. Other Projects
  6. Crime and Justice on the Web
  7. International Visitors
  8. NCCJS Meetings
  9. Upcoming Publications
  10. Staff News
  11. NCCJS Contact Points

National Criminal Justice Statistical Framework

July 2001 saw the release of the National Criminal Justice Statistical Framework (NCJSF).

The Framework provides a structure for organising, collecting and reporting data about crime and the criminal justice system. It builds connections across the main sectors of the criminal justice system by modelling it in a way that transcends the data requirements and usages of individual sectors. The Framework therefore models how criminal justice data should be structured rather than how these data currently are structured within the various administrative data systems used by criminal justice agencies.

The primary purpose of the NCJSF is to identify the key counting units and data variables in the criminal justice system that would allow stakeholders to characterise the main aspects of that system. The strategic objectives that follow from this purpose include:
    1. Integrating criminal justice data between the different, interconnecting sectors of the criminal justice system.
    2. Integrating criminal justice data across the States and Territories of Australia and other geographical regions.
    3. Facilitating discussions between the ABS and its clients on the relative priorities for future development of criminal justice data collections.
    4. Promoting the adoption of standardised methods of collecting, compiling and disseminating criminal justice statistics.

A key strategic objective of the ABS and its National Statistical Service is to promote and support good statistical and data management practices. This includes the development and use of standards within the statistical holdings of other government agencies in the interests of promoting a more unified body of national statistical information and avoiding duplication of effort in their administrative data collections.

The development of the Framework arose from the need to develop comprehensive and integrated national criminal justice data. By laying the foundations for better integration of criminal justice data, the Framework will facilitate addressing key issues and questions in the field. It will also encourage increased comparability of data both within and between jurisdictions and will assist in establishing priorities for the future development of criminal justice data collections.

The NCJSF paper has been circulated to some of the NCCJS' key stakeholders, in particular the Boards of Management, the Advisory Groups and practitioner groups. While the NCCJS will not be conducting another round of consultation, we are seeking feedback on any issues to be used in a review of the paper in the future.

The National Criminal Justice Statistical Framework is also posted on the ABS web site to allow for wider dissemination and to illustrate to our users some of the directions in which the Centre is heading.

If you have any questions about the Framework, please contact Dr Karen Gelb at


Corrective Services, Australia

The June Quarter 2001 issue of Corrective Services, Australia was released on 27 September 2001. After a period of relative stability in the average daily number of prisoners in Australian prisons, the following graph shows that an upward trend is now evident.

graph - Persons in custody

Copies of Corrective Services, Australia (ABS Cat. No. 4512.0) are available from the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Prisoners in Australia

Prisoners in Australia 2000 was released in May 2001 for the first time as an official ABS publication. The focus of this publication was on national statistics with State and Territory statistics available in supplementary tables.

Among the wealth of information contained in the publication are 10-year trends. For example, between 1990 and 2000, there was a 52% increase in the adult prison population in Australia. Over the same period, the adult imprisonment rate increased 32% to 148 prisoners per 100,000 adult population.

graph - Prisioners Australia

Copies of Prisoners in Australia 2000 (ABS Cat. No. 4517.0) are available from the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Recorded Crime, Australia

Recorded Crime, Australia 2000 was released on 30 May 2001. This was the eighth edition in the series, and it provided a greater focus on national statistics than previous publications. Comprehensive State and Territory statistics were also made available as supplementary tables.

While there is no single 'headline' indicator for the Recorded Crime collection, the 2000 edition shows that the offence category of 'Other theft' affects the greatest number of Australians, with a victimisation rate of 3,523 per 100,000 persons. The victimisation rate for 'Other theft' increased by 30% between 1995 and 2000. 'Unlawful Entry With Intent' had the second highest victimisation rate.

graph - Other theft & unlawful entry with intent, Australia

Copies of Recorded Crime, Australia 2000 (ABS Cat. No. 4510.0) are available from the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Higher Criminal Courts

The fourth edition of Higher Criminal Courts, Australia 1999-2000 was released in June 2001. This publication presents financial year statistics on the criminal workload of the Supreme and Intermediate Courts in Australia.

In this edition, four years of data have been included in Table 1, allowing better analysis of changes to the number of defendants initiated, finalised and pending. The data indicate:
  • a 13% increase between 1996/97 - 1999/2000 in the active workloads of Higher Courts; and
  • a 22% increase over the same period in defendants finalised, with a resultant increase in the completion rate from 57% to 62%.

Copies of Higher Criminal Courts, Australia 1999-2000 (ABS Cat. No. 4513.0) are available from the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


National Crime and Safety Survey

Preparation for the 2002 National Crime and Safety Survey continues on schedule. The 1998 National Crime and Safety Survey in Crime and Safety, Australia (ABS Cat. No. 4509.0).

Questions on sexual assault against males will be included, and a number of other new data items have been tested for possible inclusion and are currently being finalised.

The dissemination strategy for the survey is also being prepared, and the NCCJS would like to be contacted by interested users regarding their output requirements. Please send an e-mail to Alida Helleren at

Recorded Crime

The data item 'use of weapon' has been expanded to include the weapon types 'knife' and 'syringe'. Beginning in the calendar year 2001, these weapon types are being collected for inclusion in Recorded Crime, Australia 2001 (release date May 2002).

Analysis Projects

Small Area Estimates of Crime

This project is an attempt to derive estimates of crime victimisation at a geographic area smaller than the 1998 National Crime and Safety Survey allows, using small area estimation techniques. A model for use in the project was presented in August to an Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) conference in Townsville entitled 'The Character, Impact and Prevention of Crime in Regional Australia'. The authors received useful feedback from conference participants and are currently incorporating some new ideas into the research. The expected completion date for this work is April 2002.

Propensity to Report Crime

For this project, the ABS is working with the AIC on a model to identify the victim and offence characteristics that are associated with reporting offences to the Police. Preliminary results show that offence seriousness (for example, the use of a weapon in the offence) increases the likelihood that the offence will be reported. The write-up of this project will be circulated for peer group review towards the end of this year, with an expected completion date of December 2001.

Repeat and Multiple Victimisation

ABS is also collaborating with the AIC on a project studying repeat and multiple victimisation. The AIC is currently modelling the relationships in the data and testing the model against the 1993 National Crime and Safety Survey. Once testing is complete, the model will be passed on to the ABS' Analysis Branch to apply to the 1998 Survey. A paper is expected to be circulated by the end of the year.

Other Projects

Emergency Management

The NCCJS is currently reviewing the role of the ABS in the provision of national emergency management statistics. A draft information paper summarising the statistical requirements for the Emergency Management sector has been circulated to key stakeholders and users of emergency management statistics for comment. This paper was developed through consultation with a number of key stakeholders and statistical users in the Emergency Management sector. The NCCJS will release a final report by the end of this year. The NCCJS' liaison for Emergency Management statistics is Melissa Munce. She can be contacted at

Indigenous Identification

As part of the ABS' commitment to improve the collection and quality of information on Indigenous persons in administrative data systems, the National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics (NCATSIS) and the NCCJS are working with local ABS offices in each State/Territory to promote the inclusion of the ABS Standard Indigenous Identifier in crime and justice administrative data collections.

Criminal justice agencies responsible for such collections which presently do not include the ABS Standard Indigenous Identifier are being approached to assess the possibilities for future inclusion. We have received some positive responses from agencies that are upgrading their computer systems and/or reviewing their current data items. The NCCJS has received positive responses from agencies that are upgrading their computer systems and/or reviewing current data items. For those agencies that currently collect Indigenous data, the NCCJS is looking at the quality of this data with a view to future publication by the ABS.

The collections of the various police jurisdictions are of particular importance as there is a high demand for Indigenous information on victims and offenders. The accurate measurement of Indigenous persons in the criminal justice system is an important tool in the development of programs to address these issues.

If your agency is undertaking a review of data items, a systems upgrade, or is interested in including the Indigenous Identifier in your collection(s), please contact Alida Helleren at

Crime and Justice on the Web

The NCCJS has recently released Crime and Justice theme pages on the ABS web site. These pages are a centralised source that links all ABS information on crime and justice and related areas in one place on the ABS web site.

Sections include a comprehensive listing of all ABS publications containing crime and justice statistics at the national, state, and regional level; historical references; explanations of NCCJS collections; frequently asked questions; and links to related international web sites.

International Visitors

In July, the NCCJS expanded its international contacts by hosting two visitors from the Statistical Services Branch within Papua New Guinea's Correctional Services Department. As part of their visit to Australia, Reuben Manamb and Joyce Ninigi spent five days with Robert Letheby and Nick Skondreas from the NCCJS looking at practices and procedures relating to the collection, processing and dissemination of national corrective services data. The visit by Reuben and Joyce also involved their working with the Productivity Commission and the Victorian Department of Justice. This combined effort by all three organisations provided an invaluable opportunity to assist in the improvement of corrective services statistics in Papua New Guinea. It also permitted the ABS to expand its knowledge of data collection and the production of statistics in the Asia-Pacific region. A successful outcome for all!

NCCJS Meetings

The following meetings have been held:

Corrections Board of Management15 May 2001
Crime Board of Management17 May 2001
Crime Board of Management9 Sept 2001

Upcoming meetings are:

Crime Advisory Group15-16 Oct 2001
Courts Advisory Group15-16 Oct 2001
Corrections Advisory Group14 Nov 2001
Courts Board of Management26 Nov 2001

Upcoming Publications

In December 2001:
  • Corrective Services Australia, September Quarter 2001 (ABS Cat. No. 4512.0)

In March 2002:
  • Prisoners in Australia, 2001 (ABS Cat. No. 4517.0)
  • Corrective Services Australia, December Quarter 2001 (ABS Cat. No. 4512.0)

Staff News

In July, Mr Tom Carrigg returned to the Service Industries and Technology Surveys Branch after temporary placement in the Higher Criminal Courts Unit of the NCCJS. His enthusiasm and professionalism were greatly appreciated. Also in July, Tracey Bloxsome returned to the NCCJS after international travel. She has resumed work on the Higher Criminal Courts collection. In August, Carol Soloff left the NCCJS for a temporary placement conducting a review of the ABS Government Information and Technology Survey. From October, Mr David Cannington who was the NCCJS' liaison for Emergency Management statistics is on leave to travel in South and Central America.

Would you like to receive an electronic version of the newsletter?

If so, please send your email details to:

NCCJS Contact Points

Chris Libreri at

Statistical Output:
Robert Letheby at

(03) 9615 7372


Postal Address:
National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics
GPO Box 2796Y
Melbourne VIC 3001

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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