Australian Institute of Criminology

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Anti-homosexual homicides

Media Release

12 August 2002

The Australian Institute of Criminology has today published a study of 74 murders of homosexual men in NSW which took place over the past 20 years. The report contains a detailed analysis of the social characteristics of victims and perpetrators, as well as 12 case studies outlining specific homicide scenarios. The legal response to such attacks is also discussed.

A study of gay related murder over the 20-year period has found that the murder of gays differs from murders of males in the community at large. The main differences are:

  • A higher proportion of victims were killed by a stranger
  • Incidents were more likely to involve a high level of brutality
  • The most likely cause of death was stabbing and bashing
  • The majority of all offences were committed in a public space
  • More attacks involved multiple offenders
  • Victims were generally older
  • Perpetrators were more likely to be teenagers
  • A higher proportion are unsolved

Two typical scenarios for these killings are discussed. The first scenario is characterised as a fatal attack carried out in public space on a victim who is homosexual or presumed to be, and usually a complete stranger to the assailants who attack in groups.

The second scenario is a personal dispute, usually occurring between two men in private space, that leads to fatal violence. It is far more common for assailants in this scenario to allege a sexual advance by the deceased. These killings comprise 33 of the 74 homicides studied in this analysis.