Australian Institute of Criminology

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Contract killings in Australia

Research and public policy series no. 53

Jenny Mouzos and John Venditto
ISBN 0 642 53828 X ISSN 1326-6004
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, June 2003


This report presents the findings of a study of contract and attempted contract killings in Australia. The study was conducted jointly by the Australian Institute of Criminology through its National Homicide Monitoring Program and the Major Crime Investigation Branch, South Australia Police. The report examines 69 completed and 94 attempted contract killings in Australia between 1 July 1989 and 30 June 2002, and discusses the factors that differentiate successful and unsuccessful contract killings; the characteristics of attempted and completed killings, including who the victims and principal instigators are; typologies of contract killings, including why contract killers are sought; and the nature and level of police intervention in preventing the completion of contract killings. The implications of the findings for policing and policy are also discussed.