The Australian Homicide Project aims to improve understanding and responses by criminal justice, health and social welfare agencies.

More than 200 interviews have already been conducted with intimate and non-intimate partner homicide offenders in prisons across Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia.

“The study is the first of its kind in Australia and one of the few in the world to interview perpetrators,” says Griffith University Violence Research and Prevention Program Director Professor Paul Mazerolle.

“Interviews have also been conducted with people serving community sentences in Queensland and Western Australia.”

He said intimate partner homicide had significant consequences for families in Australia and placed a burden on justice, health and economic systems.

“Existing research does not provide information on the full range of factors that impact upon risks for various types of homicide, as it fails to consider the conditions and unfolding events that magnify homicide risks.

“This study will lead to an expanded understanding of the pathways leading to partner homicide and improved responses to intimate partner homicide.”

It will examine the developmental pathways linking intimate partner violence and homicide, as well as exploring gender differences between intimate partner and non-intimate partner homicide.

“Of particular interest to the project are the cases where there has been an intimate partner homicide and a subsequent suicide by the offender,” Professor Mazerolle said.

Funded by an Australian Research Council grant, the Australian Homicide Project is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Key findings from the study will be presented at the Intimate Partner Violence and Homicide Symposium on Thursday, May 3.