Australian Institute of Criminology

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Murder-suicide in Australia

Crime facts info no. 176

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, July 2008

The Australian Institute of Criminology's National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) has monitored homicides in Australia since 1989. NHMP data indicate that homicide, followed by the suicide of the offender either immediately after or within a short period of killing one or more victims, is a relatively infrequent event. Out of the total number of homicide incidents recorded by the NHMP (n=5,486), six percent (n=343) are classified as murder-suicides and 80 percent of these occurred in the context of intimate and/or family relationships. The most common type of murder-suicide in 2006-07 was that involving a parent killing their children (38% of murder-suicides) followed by intimate partner homicide (31% of murder-suicides). Eighty-two percent of murder-suicides in 2006-07 involved one offender and victim only. The remaining 18 percent involved one offender and multiple victims. The figure below shows that there is no statistically significant trend in multiple-victim murder-suicides, with numbers fluctuating between a low of zero during 2001 and a high of seven during 2003.

Single and multiple-victim murder-suicide incidents, 1989-90 to 2006-07 (number)

Source: AIC National Homicide Monitoring Program 1989-90 to 2006-07 [computer file]