Women and kids mur­der toll rises

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - KEITH MOOR

MORE than six women and chil­dren are mur­dered in do­mes­tic vi­o­lence at­tacks in Aus­tralia ev­ery month, ac­cord­ing to new sta­tis­tics to be re­leased to­day.

Over two years, 99 women and 47 chil­dren were killed across the coun­try, in­clud­ing 14 ba­bies less than a year old.

The Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Crim­i­nol­ogy’s Homi­cide in Aus­tralia re­port, which cov­ers the years 2012-14, also re­veals 21 cases where chil­dren mur­dered one of their par­ents.

More than 100 of the mur­der­ers had a his­tory of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and 70 of them were men­tally ill.

The rise in fe­male mur­der vic­tims as­so­ci­ated with do­mes­tic vi­o­lence — up from 83 in 2010-12 — bucks a trend that has seen the over­all num­ber of homi­cides fall­ing dur­ing the past 25 years.

The re­port, to be re­leased by Jus­tice Min­is­ter Michael Keenan at the launch of the AIC’s Crime Sta­tis­tics Aus­tralia web­site, shows the na­tion’s homi­cide rate is at an all-time low: one vic­tim per 100,000 peo­ple.

The num­ber of homi­cide vic­tims and of­fend­ers has also de­creased, by 25 per cent and 19 per cent re­spec­tively, over the same pe­riod.

How­ever the pro­por­tion of do­mes­tic homi­cide in­ci­dents in­creased from 39 per cent of all homi­cides in 2010-12 to 41 per cent in 2012-14.

“Nearly two-thirds of these do­mes­tic homi­cide in­ci­dents were in­ti­mate part­ner homi­cides,” the re­port said. “The num­ber of fe­male in­ti­mate part­ner homi­cide vic­tims in­creased from 83 in 2010-12 to 99 in 2013-14.” Even though the num­ber of homi­cides is drop­ping, the num­ber of deaths is still shock­ing, with 487 homi­cide in­ci­dents in­volv­ing 512 vic­tims in 2012-14.

“This data is vi­tal to gov­ern­ment and law en­force­ment agen­cies to guide poli­cies that pro­tect Aus­tralians and make our streets safer,” Mr Keenan said yes­ter­day.

“This re­port shows that our plan is work­ing.”

The re­port also re­vealed that stab wounds con­tinue to be the most com­mon cause of death for homi­cide vic­tims (38 per cent), fol­lowed by be­ing beaten to death (25 per cent).

Gun­shot wounds ac­counted for the deaths of 73 of the 512 mur­der vic­tims.

There were 22 mur­der­ers aged un­der 18, with the youngest be­ing 14.

Il­le­gal drug use pre­ceded 161 of the 487 homi­cides, up by 12 per cent from the 2010-12 re­port­ing pe­riod. Males re­main over-rep­re­sented as both vic­tims (64 per cent) and of­fend­ers (88 per cent).

Al­most two-thirds (62 per cent) of indige­nous vic­tims were killed in a do­mes­tic homi­cide event.

Forty-one per cent of indige­nous mur­der vic­tims were killed by an in­ti­mate part­ner, com­pared with 22 per cent of non-indige­nous vic­tims.

Min­is­ter Michael Keenan.

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