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Analysis - Australia

ANALYSIS

The truth about homicide in Australia: 69% of victims are male, 28% of offenders are Aboriginal, domestic killings trending down

The latest homicide statistics from the Australian government show that most victims are men and Aboriginals are heavily overrepresented among offenders.

The Homicide in Australia 2022–23 report, recently released by the Australian Insitute of Criminology’s The National Homicide Monitoring Program, also found that domestic violence killings are trending downwards and are below the 10-year average.

Despite being just 3.2% of the population, Aboriginals made up 28% of the homicide offenders in 2022-23, up from 24% a year earlier. 84% of those offenders were male.

“The rate of homicide offending among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2022–23 was 10.18 per 100,000 relevant population aged 10 years and over,” the report found.

“The rate of Indigenous male offending was 17.13 per 100,000, while the Indigenous female offending rate was 3.33 per 100,000. Both of these rates are an increase from the respective rates of 16.36 per 100,000 and 2.55 per 100,000 Indigenous male and female homicide offenders reported in 2021–22.”

This is a higher rate than found in countries notorious for their levels of violence such as Iraq and Papua New Guinea, which both have homicide rates of 9.4.

Aboriginals made up 20% of the homicide victims, 71% of whom were male.

Men were 69% of the victims, females were 30%, and the sex of one victim was either not stated or unknown.

Note: Excludes eight offenders whose Indigenous status was not stated or unknown.

There were 232 homicide incidents recorded by Australian state and territory police between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023, which included 247 victims and 260 offenders.

AIC Deputy Director Dr Rick Brown said that the 2022–23 homicide incident rate in Australia of 0.87 per 100,000 was 4% higher than the previous year. However, it still represented a 52% reduction in homicide incidents since the statistical program began in 1989‒90.

“69% of homicide victims in 2022–23 were male, with a homicide victimisation rate of 7.65 per 100,000 for Indigenous males compared with 1.04 per 100,000 for non-Indigenous males. The homicide victimisation rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females was 3.07 per 100,000, compared with 0.45 per 100,000 for non-Indigenous females,” he said.

“In 2022‒23, 16% of homicide incidents were intimate partner homicides (IPH) and 89% of these were perpetrated against a female victim aged 18 years or over.”

There were 38 domestic violence killings – referred to as inimate partner homicides in the report – 89% of which were perpetrated against a female victim.

“The number of incidents of intimate partner homicide perpetrated against a female increased by eight from the previous year (26 in 2021–22 vs 34 in 2022–23),” the report stated.

“However, the number of incidents in 2022–23 is lower than the average number of incidents recorded in the previous 10 years (n=36) and the equal third lowest number of intimate partner homicide incidents perpetrated against females recorded since 1989–90.”

53% of homicide victims were born in Australia, 14% were born overseas, while for for 33% place of birth was not stated or unknown.

An AIC spokesperson told Noticer News the report “did not publish country of birth data for homicide offenders due to a higher rate of data not being available for this data item” (152 homicide offenders out of 260), and that 9% of those were born overseas.

10% of homicides were uncleared, including incidents were an offender has not been identified or has not been charged, and reclassified long-term missing persons cases where police have determined the victim met with foul play.

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