Monday, September 20, 2004

Home Can be a Killer

AUSTRALIA: Northern Territory News: ALMOST half of the homicide victims in the Territory are killed by their partners. NT Police's Major Organised Crime Detective Superintendent Colleen Gwynne said 17 people were killed in homicides in the NT in the 2002-2003 financial year. Seven, or 41 per cent, of the homicide victims were in an intimate or domestic relationship with their killers.
A further six (35 per cent) were related to each other and four (24 per cent) were friends of or unknown to their killers. The figures mirror the national experience where, on average, 129 family homicides occur each year. Of those, 77 were related to domestic disputes, records at the Australian Institute of Criminology show.
Det Supt Gwynne said 88 per cent of homicide offenders were male and 41 per cent of victims were male. She said while there had been a 48 per cent drop in the number of homicides between 2002-2003 and the last financial year, she was confident the same percentage was domestic violence related.
``Our rate of homicide victimisation has been consistently greater than the national average,'' Det Supt Gwynne said. ``You'd have to say that really 50 per cent of these homicides (in 2002-2003) were domestic violence related and that's substantial.
``Domestic violence is an extremely important issue because ... quite often a domestic incident can lead to death.'' Det Supt Gwynne said police regarded domestic violence as a major crime.
``That is a message to the community that we feel domestic violence investigations are extremely important and deserve police resources.''
Det Supt Gwynne said being sent to a crime scene where a homicide has been related to domestic violence was frustrating for police. ``When we are sent to do an investigation of a domestic violence incident you think `we could've prevented this','' she said.
She urged Territorians to help report domestic violence.
``Don't turn a blind eye to this when you know it is happening,'' she said. Police dealt with 2668 reports of domestic violence in the 2002-2003 financial year. Of those, 445 were in Darwin, 1162 in Casuarina, 715 in Palmerston, 162 at Alice Springs and 184 elsewhere.
This report appears on


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