Glossary, definitions and other information

Definitions

Homicide

The unlawful killing of a person. Homicide is defined differently by the criminal law of each Australian state and territory, and each jurisdiction defines degree, culpability and intent in different ways.
This definition includes murder and manslaughter, murder-suicides and all other deaths classed by police as homicides, including infanticides, whether or not an offender was apprehended.

This definition excludes driving-related fatalities except those that immediately followed a criminal event such as armed robbery or motor vehicle theft, or which resulted in a charge of murder or manslaughter being laid and attempted murder and violent deaths such as industrial accidents involving criminal negligence (unless a charge of manslaughter is laid). Lawful homicide, including by police in the course of their duties, is also excluded, as are missing persons’ cases unless a charge of murder or manslaughter is laid by police against an offender.

Homicide incident

An event in which one or more persons are killed in the same place and at the same time. The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) further classifies types of homicides by the relationship between victim and offender: domestic homicide; acquaintance homicide; and stranger homicide.

Domestic homicide

Incidents involving the death of a family member or other person in a domestic relationship. Domestic homicide incidents include: intimate partner homicide; filicide; parricide; siblicide; and other family homicide.

Intimate partner homicide

Where the victim and offender have a current or former intimate relationship, including same-sex and extramarital relationships.

Filicide

Where a custodial or non-custodial parent (or step-parent) kills a child (including infanticide, which is defined as the killing of a child under one year of age).

Parricide

Where a child kills a custodial or non-custodial parent or step-parent.

Siblicide

Where one sibling kills another.

Other family homicide

Where the victim and offender are related (for example, they are cousins, aunts/uncles, grandparents etc), but not in one of the ways described by intimate partner homicide, filicide, parricide, or siblicide.

Acquaintance homicide

An incident involving a victim and offender who were known to each other but not related or living in a domestic relationship.

Stranger homicide

All incidents in which the victim and offender were not known to each other or knew each other less than 24 hours

Single vs multiple victims/offenders

The vast majority of homicide incidents involve a sole victim and offender. Multiple victims and/or multiple offender homicide incidents are complicated by the existence of two or more relationships; one for each unique victim and offender pair. Where an incident involves two or more relationship types, the principal relationship is the closest known relationship between any one victim and offender pair. Where an incident involves two victims (and two relationships) within the same category, the closest relationship is chosen for classification. For example, an incident involving the death of an intimate partner and one or more children would be classified as an intimate partner homicide.

Alcohol and other drug use

Information on the use of alcohol and other drugs by homicide victims and offenders are drawn from different sources. Victim use of alcohol and/or other drugs is confirmed through post-mortem toxicological tests derived from the National Coronial Information System. The use of alcohol and other drugs by homicide offenders is based on the subjective assessment of the investigating officer. There is usually no toxicological information to confirm offender alcohol and drug consumption data provided by police.