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Classification and Coding Process

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC) is a hierarchical classification of three levels.

More information is available on the ANZSOC page of the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.

There are 17 major groups (including residual categories) at level 1 of the classification, 65 subdivisions (including residual categories) at level 2 of the classification, and 185 groups (including residual categories) at level 3 of the classification.

At the broadest level, the classification makes distinctions based on the most fundamental elements of legal and behavioural criteria.

These include:

  • whether the offence involved the use of violence
  • whether the offence compromised the safety or well-being of persons or was solely directed at the acquisition or damage of property
  • whether the offence involved an intentional act or resulted from recklessness or negligence, and
  • whether the offence had a specific victim, or constituted a breach of public order or other social codes.

The following six criteria were used to develop the classification:

Violence: Whether violence is involved. If it is, the nature and level of the violence is considered, including whether a weapon was used, whether abduction or deprivation of liberty was involved, whether the violence was sexual in nature, and the outcome of the violence (eg whether life was taken, threatened, or endangered).

Acquisition: Whether the intent of the offence is acquisitive (eg to obtain property). If so, the method of acquisition, including theft, the use of extortion or blackmail, or the use of deception, is considered.

Nature of victim: The nature and vulnerability of the victim or object offended against. Types of victims include persons, property, and the community.

Ancillary offences: Whether the offence only exists as an extension of, or in relation to, another offence. Such offences include attempts, threats, and conspiracies to commit another offence, or offences involving the intent that another offence shall take place.

Seriousness: Seriousness can be reflected through the involvement or otherwise of a personal victim, or it can be measured as a function of factors of aggravation, such as whether the victim was vulnerable; whether the offence was committed in company; or whether a weapon was used. It is important to note however that the divisions of the classification are not ranked by seriousness. The Australian National Offence Index (NOI) is a separate statistical tool that enables selected ANZSOC groups to be ranked in order of seriousness.

Intent: Whether the offence occurs as a result of a negligent or reckless act, or as a result of an intent to commit an offence. This criterion distinguishes, for example, manslaughter from murder.

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