Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

New homicide figures show need for action plan to reduce domestic violence

New data to be released today by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) shows that the proportion of domestic–related homicides in Australia remained constant in 2006-07.

The Homicide in Australia: 2006-07 National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) annual report found there were 266 victims of homicide in Australia in 2006-07 – a decrease of 45 from the previous year – with 185 male and 81 female victims.

The report showed that there were 65 victims of intimate-partner homicide and that in 43 per cent of homicides between intimates, there had been a domestic violence history with police.

The report also showed that 10 per cent of all victims were children under the age of 15 and nearly all of them were killed by their parents.

“I would like to acknowledge the important contributions of police and other agencies in reducing the number of incidents of homicide. I am very concerned that the proportion of domestic violence-related deaths has remained more or less unchanged,” , Tanya Plibersek said.

The report will be launched at the AIC’s International Conference on Homicide which will be held at the Gold Coast from December 3-5.

The Rudd Government has invested $500,000 in the AIC to undertake research into domestic-related homicides to improve the understanding of risk factors and the use of risk assessment tools and knowledge to improve early intervention strategies.

The International Conference this week will have a key focus on contemporary national and international research regarding assessment and response to domestic homicides.

“The conference will bring together international and local experts to discuss causes, legislative reform, law enforcement, risk factors and the links between non-lethal and lethal violence,” Ms Plibersek said.

“The Rudd Government is committed to taking national leadership to reduce violence against women and their children and has appointed a national council, which will soon deliver its draft report.”

The National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children received over 2,000 submissions from service providers, educators, victims, perpetrators, witnesses, people living in rural and remote areas, Indigenous people, members of the judiciary, the States and Territories and members of the general public. The consultations highlighted the need for:

  • improving support and services for those effected by domestic violence and sexual assault;
  • improving the legal system so that perpetrators are held to account; and
  • increasing primary prevention efforts so that more children and young people are educated about respectful relationships; and

“The Rudd Government is working on a range of initiatives to reduce both the incidence and impact of domestic violence as part of a national plan of action,” Ms Plibersek said.