Australian Institute of Criminology

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Foreword

Every year, Australian crime: Facts & figures compiles information from a broad range of sources and presents a current profile of crime and criminal offending in Australia. Contained within this volume is trend information and statistics regarding specific crimes, victims, offenders, the location of criminal acts and the operation of criminal justice systems—the latter focusing on the work of police, courts and prisons. The presentation of this information in a single, centralised publication provides easy dissemination of accurate crime statistics and data to government and justice agencies, the media and the Australian public.

The 2011 edition sees the introduction of a new chapter. The purpose of this chapter is to provide one-off information about a particular offence or crime-related issue that is not otherwise featured in this publication. This year, the focus is on crimes committed against children and analysis is presented on the child victims of specific criminal offences, such as homicide, assault and sexual assault, robbery and kidnapping. Information is also presented on child abuse and neglect matters dealt with by statutory child protection services across Australia, the greater part of which are not dealt with as criminal offences.

The majority of information contained in this Australian crime: Facts & figures report can also be accessed via an interactive online data tool, Australian crime: Facts & figures online, available through the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) website (www.aic.gov.au). For more information on specific crime and justice issues, the AIC disseminates a number of publications—from fact sheets through to detailed reports. These publications are available for free download from the AIC website in a variety of formats, or by contacting the AIC directly.

Highlights

Some important trends of note contained in Australian crime: Facts & figures (2011) are:

  • The overall number of recorded violent crimes decreased in 2010, except for the offence kidnapping and abduction. Assault continued to occur at a rate that far exceeded any other violent offence (766 per 100,000 population).
  • Property crime decreased again in 2010; consistent with the general decrease evident over the previous 10 years.
  • Males were most commonly the victims and the perpetrators of crime. The only violent crime where females were victimised at a greater rate than males was sexual assault. There were also gender differences evident in the location of where the crime occurred. For both males and females, physical assault most commonly occurred in the victim’s own home. However, while females were most commonly threatened with assault in their own home, males were more likely to be threatened with assault at work, or a place of study.
  • The recidivism rate of offenders returning to prison after previous incarceration has remained fairly stable over the past five years. Of prisoners released in 2007–08, 38 percent had returned to prison under sentence, while a total of 44 percent had returned to corrective services (prison and community corrections) by 30 June 2010.
  • Persons aged 15–19 years had the highest rate of offending of any age group in 2010. Juveniles offended at rates that exceeded that of adults, a trend consistent with the past 13 years.
  • With regard to financial crime, fraud is a crime that is often not reported to authorities (Reference 43). Advanced fee/upfront payment scams were the most common type of scam reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in 2010. The extent of financial loss varied by type of scam; overall, 54 percent of victims of scams in 2010 reported losing less than $1,000, while less than one percent reported losses greater than $500,000.

Adam Tomison
Director