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Homicide between friends and acquaintances in Australia

Media Release

27 December 2000

Over a quarter of all homicides occur among friends and acquaintances. This is one of the findings of a report released today by the Australian Institute of Criminology.

"The most significant factors relating to homicides among friends and acquaintances is that there is a single victim and a single offender, that the offender is nearly always male and that the victim is also mostly male", said Dr Adam Graycar, Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology.

"In fact, 80% of homicides between friends and acquaintances in Australia involve a male victim and a male offender. Only about 18% of such homicides involve a male killing a female (13.4%) or a female killing a male (4.6%). Overall, males constitute 92% of perpetrators and around 83% of victims", said Dr Graycar.

Victims of this category of homicide tend to be somewhat older than the perpetrators, with the largest proportion of both victims and offenders falling within the 25 to 34 year age range.

The report, Homicide Between Friends and Acquaintances in Australia by Jenny Mouzos, also found that most homicides between friends and acquaintances take place within a residential location with alcohol present. Motives for homicides between friends and acquaintances appear to centre on altercations precipitated by alcohol (22.1%), over money or drugs (16.6%), or after some other type of argument (20.3%).

The most common weapons used in homicides between friends and acquaintances were knives or other sharp instruments (36.9%). A greater proportion of homicides between friends who had been drinking involved knives, while firearms were more likely to be used in situations involving acquaintances who had not been drinking.