The Australian Institute of Criminology’s Australian Crime: Facts & Figures: 2011 report has this year added a new chapter on crimes committed against children, with analysis presented on the child victims of specific criminal offences, such as homicide, assault and sexual assault, robbery and kidnapping. Information is also presented on child abuse and neglect matters looked at by statutory child protection services across Australia, the greater part of which are not dealt with as criminal offences.
In overall crime statistics, of the five categories of violent crime, homicide, assault, sexual assault and robbery recorded a drop in the number of victims between 2009 and 2010. Kidnappings/abductions increased by 39 people, however the number of kidnappings/abductions in 2010 represents a 23 per cent decrease since a peak in 2008, when 788 kidnapping/abductions were recorded. The most common weapon used in homicide in 2009-10 was a knife (39 per cent), followed by firearms (13 per cent) and blunt instruments (eight per cent). One victim (less than one per cent) was killed through the use of physical force and in 40 per cent of cases, the weapon used was classed as ‘other’ or was unknown. Over the past two decades, an average of 19 people per year have been killed by offenders using firearms. This has decreased from 14 per cent in 2008-09 to 13 per cent of total homicides in 2009-10. The proportion of homicide victims killed by offenders using firearms in 2009-10 represented a decrease of 18 percentage points from the peak of 31 per cent in 1995-96 (the year in which the Port Arthur mass murders occurred with the death of 35 people, which subsequently led to the introduction of stringent firearms legislation).