Department of Family and Community Services

4.1 Offenders

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Offenders proceeded against by NSW Police

Current position

In NSW in 2011-12, 21 percent of all offenders were women. The offender rate for women in 2011-12 was 610 per 100,000 of the population, compared to 2,401 per 100,000 for men. The total number of offenders (women and men) in NSW in 2011-12 was nearly 95,000.

Gender gap

  • Women are nearly four times less likely than men to be offenders.
The direction of
change over time

The percentage of female offenders has remained stable between 2008-09 and 2011-12. Women accounted for 20 percent of offenders in 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11, and 21 percent in 2011-12.

During the period 2008-09 to 2011-12, the offender rate for women rose by 2 percent, from 598 to 610 per 100,000 of the population. The offender rate for men dropped by 3 percent in this period. See Figure 6.9.

Discussion

Principal offence – differences between women and men

The largest percentage of offenders in NSW (around 40 percent for both women and men) are proceeded against for acts intended to cause injury, including DV and non-DV related assault.

The next largest offence categories for women are theft (16 percent) and illicit drug offences (16 percent). For men, illicit drug offences constitute the second largest category of offenders (21 percent), while theft accounts for a much smaller proportion of offenders (7 percent). See Table 6.7.

The offence with the greatest gap between female and male offenders is sexual assault, where men made up 97 percent of offenders in 2011-12.

Aboriginal women offenders

Women make up a larger proportion of Aboriginal offenders than they do of non-Aboriginal offenders. In NSW in 2011-12, Aboriginal women accounted for 27 percent of all Aboriginal offenders, while non-Aboriginal women accounted for 18 percent of all non-Aboriginal offenders..

Women assault offenders

The proportion of female non-DV assault offenders rose from 21 to 26 percent between September 2005 and September 2012. The increase in assault offending was largest amongst women aged 50 and over (up by 57 percent) and women aged 40 to 49 (up by 15 percent. There was a smaller increase, of 12 percent, amongst girls aged 10 to 17. However, note that in the 12 months to September 2012, women aged 50 and over and women aged 40 to 49 constituted a far smaller number of offenders (141 and 301 respectively) than girls aged 10-17 (922).

During the same seven-year period there was also an increase in the proportion of women proceeded against for domestic violence-related assaults, from 13 to 17 percent. The increase in offending was high amongst girls aged 10-17 (a rise of 96 percent) and women aged 50 and over (also up 96 percent), although the number of offenders was much smaller for women in the older age group.

ABS Recorded Crime – Offenders data includes all alleged offenders aged 10 years and over who were proceeded against by NSW Police during the period July 2011 to June 2012. ABS data for NSW excludes offenders proceeded against under the NSW Young Offenders Act 1997 and is therefore not comparable with other states and territories.

Year collected: 2011-12.
Data source: ABS (2013) Recorded Crime – Offenders, Australia 2011-12, Cat no.4519.0. (unpublished data); BOCSAR, NSW Recorded Crime Statistics October 2005 to September 2012 (BOCSAR ref: kg13-11070) for data on ‘Women assault offenders’. More information is available at www.abs.gov.au; www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au

Figure 6.9 Offender rates by sex, NSW, 2008-12

Fig 6.9

Note: Rate per 100,000 population of males and females protected by ADVOs in NSW. Note that procedural changes, such as mandatory recording on an ADVO of the children of the person protected by the ADVO, have affected the rise in the number and rate of ADVOs granted over this period.
Population: The NSW population.
Source: BOCSAR, NSW Recorded Crime Statistics 1996 to 2011, unpublished (BOCSAR ref: kg13-11173).

Table 6.7 Offenders, principal offence by sex, NSW, 2011-12

Women % 

Total (women and men) 

Acts intended to cause injury 

19

24,808

Illicit drug offences 

16

12,075

Theft 

34

5,426

Public order offences 

19

3,413

Property damage 

18

3,112

Offences against justice 

24

2,428

Fraud/deception 

35

2,356

Unlawful entry with intent 

11

2,129

Sexual assault 

3

1,439

Robbery/extortion 

12

1,149

Prohibited/regulated weapons 

9

946

Miscellaneous offences 

21

882

Abduction/harassment 

15

760

Homicide 

15

262

Dangerous/negligent acts 

48

54

Note: An offender is only counted once in the ABS survey. Data excludes offenders proceeded against under the NSW Young Offenders Act 1997 and is therefore not comparable with other states and territories. The ‘Women %’ column refers to the proportion of offenders who were women for the specified offence.
Population: Alleged offenders aged 10 years and over who were proceeded against by NSW Police during the period 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012.
Source: ABS (2013) Recorded Crime – Offenders, Australia 2011-12, Cat no.4519.0.