Australian Institute of Criminology

Skip to content

Report shows a decrease in the number of homicide victims

Media Release

07 June 2004

The number of victims of homicide in Australia for the period 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2003 decreased by 15% compared with the previous year, Dr Toni Makkai, the Acting Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology, said today.

A total of 297 homicide incidents occurred during the reporting period. These incidents resulted in the death of 324 people, a rate of 1.6 per 100,000 of the population.

"Males outnumbered females as both victims and offenders of homicide", Dr Makkai said. "Sixty-seven per cent of the victims and 87 per cent of the offenders were male".

People aged between 25 to 29 were most at risk of homicide victimisation. For females the risk of victimisation was highest between the ages of 20 and 24, and for males the risk for victimisation was highest between the ages of 25 and 29.

A knife or sharp instrument was the most common weapon used. It was used in almost one-third of all homicides.

Firearms were used to commit 16 per cent of homicides. Handguns accounted for over half (55%) of all the firearm homicides. The majority of offenders who used a firearm to commit homicide were unlicensed and the firearm was unregistered.

The socio demographic characteristics of victims and offenders in 2002-2003 were similar to those found in previous years: males were more likely to be single and not in the workforce at the time of the incident, whereas females were more likely to be married or in a de facto relationship and not in the workforce.

Arguments and/or altercations including those over drugs, money, alcohol and domestic incidents were the most common motives attributed to homicides in 2002-2003.

Similar to previous years, the report found that homicide is most likely to occur between persons who are known to each other, only one in five homicides occurred between strangers.

More than half of the homicide incidents occurred in a residential location.