Criminal offence descriptions

As several categories constitute an aggregation of many related types of offence, the following descriptions reflect the common elements of such offences. Should more information about offences and their definition be required, please refer to the relevant legislation, such as the Criminal Code, available from the State Law Publisher.

Descriptions

Murder

The unlawful killing of another person where there is either the intent to kill, or the intent to cause grievous bodily harm with the knowledge that it was probable that death or grievous bodily harm would occur, or without intent to kill in the course of committing a crime.

Attempted Murder

The attempted unlawful killing of another person where there is either the intent to kill, or the intent to cause grievous bodily harm with the knowledge that it was probable that death or grievous bodily harm would occur but where death did not actually occur.

Manslaughter

The unlawful killing of another person while deprived of the power of self-control by provocation or under circumstances amounting to diminished responsibility or without intent to kill, as a result of a careless, reckless, negligent, unlawful or dangerous act including the act of driving.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

A sexual assault is a physical contact of a sexual nature directed toward another person where that person does not give consent, gives consent as a result of intimidation or fraud, or consent is proscribed (i.e. the person is legally deemed incapable of giving consent because of youth, temporary/permanent (mental) incapacity or there is a familial relationship). An Aggravated Sexual Assault is a sexual assault involving any of the following aggravating circumstances:

  • sexual intercourse (i.e. oral sex and/or penetration of either the vagina or anus by any part of the human body or by any object);
  • infliction of injury or violence on the person;
  • possession/use of a weapon;
  • consent proscribed; or
  • committed in company (i.e. by two or more persons).

Aggravated Sexual Assault includes Incest, Rape, Unlawful sexual intercourse, Unlawful fellatio/cunnilingus and Carnal knowledge.

Non-Aggravated Sexual Assault

Non-Aggravated Sexual Assault is a sexual assault not involving any of the aggravating circumstances as defined in Aggravated Sexual Assault. It includes Indecent Assault not involving any aggravating circumstances.

Aggravated Assault

An assault is the direct (and immediate/confrontational) infliction of force, injury or violence upon a person or persons or the direct (and immediate/confrontational) threat of force, injury or violence where there is an apprehension that the threat could be enacted. An Aggravated Assault as recorded by the WA Police is an assault that involves the aggravating circumstances of causing serious bodily injury. The Australian Standard Offence Classification also includes the following circumstances of aggravation:

  • carried out in company;
  • carried out using a weapon;
  • carried out with the intent of preventing apprehension or committing a crime; or
  • committed with the intent to recklessly endanger life or cause injury.

Non-Aggravated Assault

An assault not involving any of the aggravating circumstances as defined in Aggravated Assault. This category of offence also includes acts involving the indirect and non-confrontational infliction of harm, injury or violence upon a person such as administering drugs/poison or stupefying. For reporting purposes, non-aggravated assault incorporates assault (including a relatively small number of aggravated assaults) committed against a WA Police Officer acting in the execution of their duty.

Threatening Behaviour

Declaration of intention to punish or hurt, orally (including via the telephone or recording), or in writing, to injure body, property or reputation.

Deprivation of Liberty

Acts intended to unlawfully deprive another person of their freedom of movement against that person's will or against the will of any parent, guardian or other person having lawful custody or care of that person. This category of offence includes abduction.

Aggravated Robbery (Firearm)

A robbery is the unlawful taking of property with intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property, from the immediate possession, control, custody or care of a person, accompanied by the use, and/or threatened use of immediate force or violence. An Aggravated Robbery (Firearm) is a robbery involving the possession/use of a firearm and may also involve the infliction of injury or violence on the person or be committed in company (i.e. by two or more persons).

Aggravated Robbery (Other)

An Aggravated Robbery (Other) is a robbery as defined in 'Aggravated Robbery (Firearm)' involving the possession/use of a weapon other than a firearm and may also involve the infliction of injury or violence on the person or be committed in company (i.e. by two or more persons) or committed against persons aged 60 and over.

Non-Aggravated Robbery

A Non-Aggravated Robbery is a robbery as defined in 'Aggravated Robbery (Firearm)' not involving any of the following aggravating circumstances:

  • possession/use of a weapon;
  • the infliction of injury or violence on the person; or
  • committed in company (i.e. by two or more persons).

This category of offence also includes blackmail/extortion which is defined as unlawful demanding with intent to gain money, property or any other benefit from, or with intent to cause detriment to, another person accompanied by the use of coercive measures, to be carried out at some point in the future if the demand is not met. This may also include the use and/or threatened use of immediate force or violence. Coercive measures include, but are not limited to, the threat of:

  • force or violence;
  • the misuse of authority;
  • criminal prosecution;
  • the destruction of a person's reputation or social standing; or
  • the destruction of a person's property.

Burglary (Dwelling)

To enter or attempt to enter any building, structure, tent or caravan that is ordinarily used for human habitation without consent, with intent to commit an offence such as to steal property.

Burglary (Non-dwelling)

To enter or attempt to enter a building, structure or tent other than a dwelling without the owner's consent, with intent to commit an offence such as to steal property.

Steal Motor Vehicle

Unlawfully using a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner or the person in charge of that motor vehicle. 'Steal motor vehicle' excludes attempts to steal a motor vehicle, damaging or tampering/ interfering with a motor vehicle, or the theft of motor vehicle parts or the contents of a motor vehicle. For the purpose of this offence category, a motor vehicle is defined as a self-propelled vehicle that runs on a land surface (but is not restricted to rails or tram lines) and is eligible for registration for use on public roads, or could be made eligible for registration for use on public roads with modifications that would not change the essential nature of the vehicle. 'Steal motor vehicle' therefore excludes the theft of some types of motorised vehicle such as large mining trucks (super-haulers), gophers (motorised wheel chairs), golf carts, miniature motor cycles (pocket rockets), go carts and motorised bicycles/scooters, and also excludes the theft of trailers, semi-trailers or caravans (regardless of whether or not they were attached to a motor vehicle at the time of theft).

Theft

The unlawful taking or obtaining of money, goods or services, without the use of force, threat of force or violence, coercion or deception, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner or possessor of the use of the money or goods. This category of offence includes the theft of vehicle parts or the contents of a vehicle.

Receiving/Illegal Use

This offence category includes the following offences:

  • Receiving, handling or processing money or goods taken or obtained illegally.
  • The taking of another person's property other than a motor vehicle, illegally and without permission with the intent of temporarily depriving the owner or possessor of the use of the property.

Fraud

This offence category includes the following offences:

  • Inducing a course of action, by deceit or other dishonest conduct, with the intent to obtain money or other benefit or to evade a liability.
  • The making, use or possession of a forged financial instrument with an intention to obtain an advantage.
  • Dishonestly converting money or goods which came into a person's possession or control not involving the use of deception or taking without consent.
  • The giving, offering or accepting of reward to influence the exercise of power or authority.

Arson

Willfully and unlawfully destroying or damaging property by fire. Property includes a building or dwelling; vessel; bush land; crop; and motor vehicle.

Property Damage

An act (excl. graffiti) or omission to do an act with the intent to destroy or damage property.

Graffiti

Property damage caused by the application of substances (e.g. paint, posters and/or plastic, metal or wood based compounds) to the surface of the property.

Breach of a Restraint

Breaching any of the restraints imposed by a Violence Restraining Order or Misconduct Restraining Order or Police Orders.

Drug Offences (Traffic)

The unlawful sale, supply, cultivation or manufacture of a prohibited drug or plant.

Drug Offences (Possess)

The unlawful possession or use of a prohibited drug or plant, or the unlawful possession of a smoking implement.

Note: on 1 July 2001, the offence categories underwent a significant change to reflect the adoption of the Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC). Current statistics appearing on this site, including historical figures, have been recalculated to reflect the new categories. However, care should be exercised when comparing current and historical statistics from this site with figures obtained prior to July 2001.

The following offence descriptions are based on ASOC definitions. However, it is important to note that these descriptions do not constitute a precise legal definition in accordance with Western Australian legislation, but are intended as a guide only.