Physical safety

The data in this indicator is no longer being updated.

Stats NZ is developing well-being indicators, Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand - Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa, to track New Zealand’s progress. As the well-being indicators have similar aims to the NZ Progress Indicators and NZ Social Indicators, we are reviewing the future of these existing indicators.

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Positive change

Between 1987 and 2012, the rate of death from assault per 100,000 people decreased 40 percent

  • Image, Physical safety
    • The rate of death from assault fluctuated between 1987 and 2012, peaking in the early 1990s.
    • Although the overall trend decreased 40.2 percent over the whole period, it has changed little since 2000.


    1. Rates are age-standardised to the World Health Organization standard for world population (3-year moving average).
    Note: This graph is interactive. Hover over the data points to see the exact values.

    View source data

    The source data for this indicator is available from Mortality and demographic data: 2012 on the Ministry of Health website.

    Changes we made to the source data

    The physical safety indicator uses a three-year moving average to show the trend in the rate of death from assault. A moving average is commonly used with time series data to smooth out short-term fluctuations and highlight longer-term trends or cycles.

    The information shown for any specific year in this indicator is the average for the three years ending with that year. For example, the three-year average for 2005 is the average of the actual rates for 2003–05, and the three-year average for 2006 is 2004–06.

    Part of this data series is available from the Ministry of Health website. The remainder was provided by the Ministry of Health through a special information request.

    Definition and measure

    Safety and security affect people’s well-being, and their ability and desire to interact with others and to take part in social and economic life. People’s perceptions of crime often differ from actual levels of crime. The rate of death from assault represents the extreme end of violent offences.

    ‘Death from assault’ is defined here as death caused by a purposely inflicted injury by another person with intent to injure or kill. Manslaughter is included under certain circumstances; however, abortion is not.

    Rates of assault mortality per 100,000 are age-standardised to a standard world population. The World Health Organization compiles a standard population to reflect the average age structure of the world’s population. This enables international comparisons between countries.

    Previous publications

    Key findings on New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2010
    Measuring New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2008
    Key findings on New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2008

    Page updated December 2015

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