Australian Institute of Criminology

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Almost half of all Australian homicides involved alcohol

Media Release

13 July 2009

Almost half of all Australian homicides between 2000 and 2006 were found to have involved the consumption of alcohol.

A paper released today by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) showed that of the 1,565 homicides recorded over the six-year period, 746 (47%) were classified as alcohol related and that in 60 percent of these incidents both the victim and offender had been consuming alcohol.

The Alcohol and Homicide in Australia paper was based on data collected from the AIC's National Homicide Monitoring Program and utilised victim toxicology reports, making it one of the most comprehensive studies on alcohol-related homicide to date.

AIC General Manager, Research, Dr Judy Putt, said eight-in-ten homicides which occurred in recreational venues were classified as alcohol related and homicides which occurred on weekends or evenings were most likely to have involved alcohol.

"Factors like gender, employment status, age, the relationship between victim and offender as well as whether those involved were of Indigenous backgrounds affected the likelihood of alcohol being involved," Dr Putt said.

"Homicides involving male victims, unemployed victims and young offenders were also identified as most likely to have been alcohol related."

Additionally, the paper shows that 44 percent of intimate partner homicides were alcohol related.

"The study found homicides where a male victim was killed by a female intimate partner were highly likely to be related to alcohol consumption (73%) indicating that it is a far more significant factor in intimate partner homicide than indicated by previous studies.

"Eighty-seven percent of intimate partner homicides among the Indigenous population were alcohol related, making it the highest proportion of alcohol-related homicide of all factors studied," Dr Putt said.

To view this paper go to www.aic.gov.au

AIC media contact: Caterina Giugovaz. Telephone: 02 6260 9226; Mobile: 0418 159 525.