There were 3,150 homicide incidents over the decade, averaging 315 per year, a figure that did not fluctuate much.
Just under two-thirds of all homicide incidents (60.2%) occurred in residential premises. Nearly half of all homicide incidents occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, and over two-thirds of homicide incidents occurred between 6pm and 6am.
Eight out of 10 homicide incidents can be characterised as 'one-on-one' interactions between the victim and the offender, though there have been, on average, 15 multiple fatality incidents per year, resulting in approximately 39 victims per year.
There were 3,386 victims of homicide. Across the 10-year period, rates of victimisation have remained relatively constant, fluctuating between 1.7 and 2.0 per 100,000 population. Some 63.2% of victims were male and 36.8% were female. Females were killed at an average annual rate of 1.4 per 100,000 population, whereas males were killed at an average annual rate of 2.4 per 100,000 population. There has been a stable pattern of gender differentiation, with a ratio of 3 males killed for every 2 females. Male victims were more likely to have been single at the time of the incident, whereas female victims were more likely to have been married or living in a de facto relationship. Females were more likely to be killed as a result of a domestic altercation, although this proportion has declined in recent years. Males were more likely to be killed following an alcohol-related argument.
Victims of homicide were more likely to be killed with a knife or other sharp instrument than any other weapon. There was a declining trend in the proportion of victims killed with a firearm, with an average of 81 victims killed per year with a firearm.
The highest age-specific victimisation rate for females was for children less than one year of age (average rate of 2.6), whereas the highest victimisation rate for males was for young men between the ages of 24 and 26 years (average rate of 4.3). Indigenous persons were on average 8.1 times more likely to be victims of homicide than non-Indigenous persons.
Approximately 9% of all homicide victims were aged under 15, and this proportion has remained quite stable each year since 1989. Biological parents, usually the mother, were responsible for a majority of child killings in Australia. Very rarely are children killed by a stranger.
There were 3,481 offenders of homicide - 87.2% were male and 12.8% were female. Males consistently exhibited higher rates of offending than females, with a ratio of about 7:1. The median age of male offenders was 27 years and the median age for female offenders was 29 years. Male offenders were more likely to be single, whereas female offenders were more likely to be married or living in a de facto relationship at the time of the incident.
Between 1996-97 and 1998-99, just under 2 out of 5 male offenders and just over 1 out of 5 female offenders were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. Approximately 6% of homicide offenders in Australia committed suicide during or following the homicide incident.
Eight out of 10 homicides occurred between people who were known to one another. Females were more likely to be killed by an intimate partner, whereas males were more likely to be killed by a friend or acquaintance, but under 2 out of 10 homicides occurred between strangers. Approximately 13% of all homicide incidents occur in the course of other crime, such as robbery and sexual assault. One in 10 homicide incidents occurred in the course of robbery, and 3.7% occurred in the course of sexual assault. This relatively low rate of homicides committed in the course of another crime is a factor which differentiates Australia's homicide rates from those of many other countries.
While only 13% of homicides were committed by females, women who kill tend to kill men. Women are more likely to kill (in descending order of frequency) husbands, ex-husbands, de facto partners, and lovers, followed by children and other relatives. Very few women kill strangers.
In Australia, between 1 July 1989 and 30 June 1999 there were 13 mass-murder incidents (where the number of victims was 4 or more), resulting in the death of 94 persons, though in the two most recent years of the century Australia recorded no mass-murder incidents.
Understanding homicide involves some fundamental neurological and sociological risk factors. Looking across many nations, from a policy point of view things like expanding the number of police, giving them better technology, setting longer prison sentences, imposing or abolishing the death penalty have had no effect on the homicide rate, which has remained fairly constant in most countries (Mouzos 2000).