SACStat – Higher Courts User Manual

This user manual is also available in PDF via the link at the bottom of this page.

SACStat – Higher Courts contains data on offenders who had proven criminal charges finalised in the Supreme and County Courts of Victoria (including the Court of Appeal) between July 2010 and June 2015.

Previous Versions of SACStat

The Sentencing Advisory Council launched SACStat in November 2012 with sentencing data from the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria only. Magistrates’ Court sentencing data were expanded and updated in June 2013 and October 2014. Higher courts sentencing data were incorporated into SACStat in October 2014 and updated in May 2015 and in March 2016.

Accessing SACStat

From the SACStat home page, click on Higher Courts to open SACStat – Higher Courts.

SACStat can also be accessed from the Sentencing Advisory Council’s website via the Quicklinks menu.

Accessing Sentencing Data within SACStat – Higher Courts

There are two ways to find sentencing data for an offence: Legislation Index and Offence Search. Both are accessed from the horizontal menu on the top of each page.

Sentencing data in SACStat – Higher Courts are presented according to offence type. Therefore, it is important that you know the name of the offence to access the relevant sentencing data.

The Legislation Index presents each offence under its Act of parliament. Acts are listed in alphabetical order in the A to Z menu across the top of the Legislation Index page. Offences contained in each Act are listed according to section. Common law offences are listed under C in the Legislation Index.

Clicking on an offence name opens a link to the sentencing statistics for that offence.

Offence Search allows you to search the Legislation Index. On the Offence Search page, type all or part of the name of the offence you are interested in and click the Search button. All offences matching your search criteria will be displayed. Boolean operators such as AND, OR, NOT, or NEAR are not supported, and it is important that you use the correct spelling.

Higher Courts Graphs and Summary Statistics

In SACStat – Higher Courts, sentencing data presented in graphs and summary statistics are grouped into four categories:

  • charge sentencing – the type and length or amount of sentence for each charge
  • case sentence type – sentence type imposed for each case
  • case sentence quantum – the length or amount of sentence for each case
  • case characteristics – offender demographics and number of charges per case.

Each of these four categories of data has its own tab (immediately below the header menu).

Graphs and summary statistics will only be displayed if there are 10 or more charges/cases with the relevant characteristic. ‘Insufficient data to display’ appears where there are fewer than 10 charges/cases.

Charge Sentencing

Data presented under charge sentencing relate to the sentence type and the sentence quantum for each charge of a given offence.

Sentence type data include:

  • the total number of charges
  • the percentage of charges that received each sentence type.

For each sentence type, sentence quantum data include:

  • the total number of charges
  • the percentage of charges that received each quantum range
  • summary statistics, including the minimum, maximum, and median, and the 10th, 25th, 75th, and 90th percentiles.

A percentile is the percentage of observations (such as sentence outcomes) that fall beneath a given value in a series of observations. For example, if 1.5 years is the 25th percentile of imprisonment lengths for a given offence, this means that 25 per cent of imprisonment terms imposed for that offence fall below 1.5 years.

The following measures of sentence quanta according to sentence type are used for charges:

  • imprisonment – duration in years
  • partially suspended sentence – duration in years
  • wholly suspended sentence – duration in years
  • youth justice centre order – duration in years
  • community correction order – duration in years
  • intensive correction order – duration in years
  • community-based order – duration in years
  • fine – amount in dollars.

Case Sentence Type

Data presented within case sentence type relate to the type of sentence imposed on all cases in which the offence of interest was a principal offence. A principal offence is an offence for which the sentence imposed contributed most to the total effective sentence on a case.

Statistics presented include:

  • the total number of cases
  • the percentage of cases that received each sentence type.

This information is presented in separate graphs for all people, as well as for individual gender and age groups.

Case Sentence Quantum

Data presented within case sentence quantum relate to cases in which the offence of interest was a principal offence. For each sentence type, the statistics include:

  • the total number of cases
  • the percentage of cases that received each quantum range
  • summary statistics, including the minimum, maximum, and median, and the 10th, 25th, 75th, and 90th percentiles.

Sentence quantum information is presented for all people, as well as for individual gender and age groups.

The following measures of sentence quanta according to sentence type are used for cases:

  • imprisonment – total effective length in years and non-parole period in years
  • partially suspended sentence – part of imprisonment sentence to serve in prison in years
  • wholly suspended sentence – total effective length in years
  • youth justice centre order – total effective length in years
  • community correction order – total effective length in years
  • intensive correction order – total effective length in years
  • community-based order – total effective length in years
  • fine – amount in dollars.

Tile Graphs

A particular type of frequency distribution, known as a tile graph, is used to present data on each possible combination of total effective imprisonment terms and non-parole periods for cases that receive imprisonment.

The tile graph is a grid showing each combination of total effective imprisonment term group and non-parole period group. The size of each tile at each intersection reflects the percentage of cases with that particular combination of total effective imprisonment term and non-parole period.

Clicking on the tile reveals the precise number of cases it represents.

Case Characteristics

Data presented under case characteristics relate to cases in which a given offence was a principal offence. They include an age breakdown, a gender breakdown, and a breakdown in the percentage of cases according to the total number of charges per case.

Viewing Data as Tables

All data presented in graphs are also available in table form. Tables can be accessed by clicking on the View Underlying Data link at the bottom of each offence page.

Printing

SACStat pages can be printed using the print menu in your web browser.

Exclusions

SACStat – Higher Courts excludes data on:

  • custodial and non-custodial supervision orders imposed under Part 5, and unconditional release imposed under section 23, of the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 (Vic) where the defendant is not guilty because of mental impairment
  • criminal offences sentenced in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (see Magistrates’ Court SACStat)
  • criminal offences sentenced in the Children's Court of Victoria
  • sentences imposed by the County and Supreme Courts for breach of a previous sentence
  • changes to County and Supreme Court sentences as a result of a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal after June 2015
  • sentences imposed in the County Court as a result of a successful appeal against a Magistrates’ Court sentence
  • offences for which the total number of charges across the five-year reference period is less than 10.

SACStat – Magistrates’ Court

The Magistrates’ Court module of SACStat can be accessed directly from within SACStat – Higher Courts via the header menu.

Further Information

Further information about SACStat – Higher Courts is available on the Methodology and Glossary pages of SACStat – Higher Courts and the Frequently Asked Questions page on the Council’s website.

Feedback

We welcome your feedback on any aspect of SACStat. You can provide feedback to us via our Contact Us page or via email. Please let us know if you require a reply to your feedback.