Author Clare Ringland, Stewart Boiteux and Suzanne Poynton
Published September 2022
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. CJB252
Subject Victims; Domestic violence; Aboriginal / Indigenous Australians; Disability
Keywords Disability, Victimisation, Linked datasets, Domestic violence, Aboriginality



This report presents findings from the NSW Justice Test Case that was part of the National Disability Data Asset (NDDA) pilot. The NSW Justice Test Case was led by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) and the Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS), and used linked State and Commonwealth data collections to examine the intersection of disability and the criminal justice system (CJS) in NSW. Results reported in this bulletin relate specifically to victims of crime reported to, or detected by, the NSW Police Force. Specifically, for people with disability we examine the following:
1. factors associated with being a victim of crime, with particular focus on violent and DV-related crime;
2. characteristics of incidents, compared with people with no disability identified;
3. factors associated with whether a person of interest was proceeded against in relation to a violent and/or DV-related incident, including comparisons with incidents involving people with no disability identified;
4. factors associated with whether repeat victimisation is experienced within 12 months of a violent and/or DV-related incident, including comparisons with people with no disability identified.

Key findings

Over the 5-year period from 2014 to 2018, 17.0 per cent of people with disability were recorded as a victim of one or more criminal incidents, 6.5 per cent experienced a violent incident and 4.4 per cent experienced a DV-related incident. The proportion of people who experienced a criminal incident ranged from 10.8 per cent of those with unspecified disability only to 23.7 per cent of those with both cognitive and psychosocial disabilities. Similarly, between 2.4 per cent and 12.7 per cent of the disability cohort were victims of a violent incident, and between 1.8 and 7.3 per cent were victims of a DV-related incident (for those with unspecified disability through to those with both cognitive and psychosocial disabilities). Being younger, female, and/or Aboriginal, were associated with a greater risk of people with disability being victims of violent and DV-related crimes.

Persons of interest (POIs) were less likely to be proceeded against when incidents involved people with disability, especially in relation to violent incidents (OR=0.83 for disability cohort and OR=0.90 for other disability identifier). Differences in police action rates were particularly pronounced for those with both cognitive and physical disabilities (with or without psychosocial disabilities).
People with disabilities were more likely to experience violent and DV-related revictimisation within 12 months compared with those with no disability identified (OR=1.3-1.4 for violent revictimisation and OR=1.1-1.2 for DV revictimisation). Generally, those with cognitive and/or psychosocial disabilities were at greater risk of revictimisation than those with other or no known disabilities.
 Overlap between disability cohort and victim cohort
Overlap between disability cohort and victim cohort


This is the first study using linked administrative data to examine factors associated with the victimisation of people with disability in New South Wales. Particular groups of people with disability were especially vulnerable to experiencing crime. This study highlights the importance of an enduring linked dataset to ensure that service delivery and outcomes can be effectively monitored and evaluated.