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Close encounters of the homicidal kind

Media Release

26 June 2000

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) today released the first ever compendium of data on homicide in Australia.

"This unique report is the result of extensive examination into homicide in Australia over the past decade and is a significant contribution to developing strategies to counter homicide", AIC Director, Dr Adam Graycar, said today.

"What this report shows," he said "is that homicide is not one type of crime, but it consists of a variety of aggressive activities that differ by event, activity, personality and social characteristics. To reduce homicide there is not one strategy, but many. As half of our homicide incidents are men killing men, strategies focusing on safe use of alcohol are highly relevant. Very different strategies apply to the murder of young children (children under the age of 1 have a high risk rate of homicide), or to women as victims (it is very rare for a woman to be killed by a man she does not know)," he said.

Homicidal Encounters: A Study of Homicide in Australia by Jenny Mouzos provides profiles of the four components of homicide - incident, victim, offender and victim-offender relationship.

The report's author, Jenny Mouzos is presenting the data from this report to an international homicide analysis workshop in Chicago today, 26 June 2000.

The report provides in-depth analysis and case studies of different types of homicides.
homicides. Data is provided on:

  • men who kill men
  • intimate partner homicide
  • women and children who kill
  • children and the elderly as victims of homicide
  • the phenomena of mass and serial murders
  • homicides that occur during the course of other crimes.

Some highlights from Homicidal Encounters: A Study of Homicide in Australia 1989-1999 by Jenny Mouzos. Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 2000.

  • There were 3150 homicide incidents over the last decade.
  • The incidence of homicide in Australia has remained relatively stable, with an average of 315 incidents per year.
  • There were 3386 victims of homicide - two-thirds of victims are male, one-third are female.
  • 60% of homicides occur in residential premises.
  • People who are separated or divorced have the highest rates of victimisation.
  • Males are more likely to be killed following an alcohol-related argument by a friend or acquaintance.
  • People who are not working have higher victimisation rates than those who are working.
  • Female victims are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner as the result of a domestic altercation.
  • More than 20% of homicides involve intimate partners.
  • Males commit homicide seven times more than women.
  • Males killing males account for approximately 50% of homicides.
  • Children account for approximately 9% of homicide victims, with children under the age of 1 at highest risk - children are very rarely killed by a stranger.
  • Elderly people account for approximately 7% of homicide victims.
  • Approximately 13% of homicides occur during the course of other crimes, such as robbery or sexual assault.
  • The last 30 pages of the report outline measures to prevent homicidal encounters.