Australian Institute of Criminology

Skip to content

Increase in the involvement of young males in homicide

Media Release

19 July 2007

'The latest homicide figures indicate there has been an increase in homicides committed by young males. In 2005-06, there were 57 males aged between 15 and 19 years who committed homicide, compared with 22 males in 2004-05, and 39 males in 2003-04.' Dr Toni Makkai, Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), said today when releasing Homicide in Australia: 2005-06 National homicide monitoring program (NHMP) annual report.

During 2005-06, there were 283 incidents of homicide, resulting in 301 victims, committed by 336 offenders. This is 34 more incidents than in 2004-05, representing an increase of 14 percent.

'Yearly fluctuations in the patterns of homicide are quite common, and the increase in the number of incidents in 05-06 from the previous year is not statistically significant over the 17 years that the AIC has been conducting the NHMP' Dr Makkai said.

The number of female homicide victims also increased - from 87 in 2004-05 to 113 this year (109 in 2003-04) and the percentage of females killed by strangers rose from two percent in 2004-05 to 10 percent in 2005-06. In 2003-04 seven percent of female homicide victims were killed by strangers.

Overall stranger homicide increased from 19 percent in 2004-05 to 26 percent in the current year, and 23 percent in 2003-04. This change is mostly due to the increase in young males committing homicide, half of which involved strangers.

The weapons and methods used in homicide have remained relatively the same compared with previous years, with a knife or sharp instrument accounting for a third of all homicide victims. The use of firearms has again declined, with 14 percent of homicides committed with a firearm (n=42).

'Monitoring programs identify changes over time, and place short term changes in a longer time frame. It also enables us to identify changes in risk markers associated with incidents, victims and offenders. Such information allows policy makers and law enforcement to target intervention/prevention policies in the areas likely to have the most impact.' Dr Makkai said.

Dr Makkai acknowledged the important contribution of police and coronial agencies in the provision of data for this program. 'Without their continued support, the NHMP and associated research would not be possible.'

The NHMP has been operating since 1989. The data collection framework is a co-operative activity between the AIC and all state and territory police services.

This annual report marks the seventeenth year of data collection for the AIC's NHMP, with the dataset now containing information on 5,226 incidents, 5,617 victims, and 5,743 homicide offenders.