Australian Institute of Criminology

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Indigenous and non-Indigenous homicides in Australia: a comparative analysis

Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 210

Jenny Mouzos
ISBN 0 642 24235 6 ISSN 0817-8542
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, June 2001


This paper examines the similarities and differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous homicides in Australia during an 11-year period. The findings suggest that the 'typical' Indigenous homicide in Australia differed from other homicides in important ways. Indigenous homicides were more likely to occur within the family environment, with a high proportion of female involvement (both as victims and offenders). Many of the incidents resulted from some form of domestic altercation. Alcohol was found to play a major role: just over four out of five Indigenous homicides involved either the victim or the offender, or both, drinking at the time of the incident. Knives were the most common weapons of choice, with firearms used in less than six per cent of homicides. Indigenous homicides involving strangers were found to be exceptionally rare. These findings can be used to achieve more informed and sound policy directions in the reduction and prevention of lethal violence for Indigenous Australians.