Australian Institute of Criminology

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Homicides in Australia 2004-05 : weapon type

Crime facts info no. 141

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, February 2007

The Australian Institute of Criminology has collected data on homicides in Australia since 1989. Homicide includes murder, manslaughter and infanticide, but excludes driving-related fatalities unless these occur in the course of a criminal event. In 2004-05 there were 249 incidents involving 267 victims of homicide, the lowest number of homicide incidents and victims in Australia since the AIC began monitoring. The weapons/methods used in the commission of homicide have remained relatively unchanged over the years. The figure below shows that while the most common types of weapons used in homicide in Australia are weapons of opportunity, such as knives or sharp instruments and hands and/or feet, weapon use tends to differ based on the gender of the victim. Females were more likely to be killed with a knife or sharp instrument (37%), followed by being beaten to death with hands and/or feet (27%). This pattern of weapon use was similar for male victims, although the proportion of males killed with a firearm in 2004-05 declined, with a firearm becoming the third most common weapon for male victims (19%). Fewer than one in 10 females were killed with a firearm in 2004-05.

Types of weapon used in homicides in Australia, 2004–05 (percent)

Note: male victims n=175, female victims n=81. Excludes 10 victims (four males; six females) where type of weapon used was unknown, and one victim whose gender was unknown.

a: Other includes explosives, fire, poison, drugs, vehicles and other weapons.

Source: AIC National Homicide Monitoring Program 2004-05 [computer file]

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