The National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) began on July 1, 1989 and through it, the Australian Institute of Criminology has been able to monitor trends and patterns in homicide across Australian jurisdictions. In Homicide in Australia: 2008-09 to 2009-10 National Homicide Monitoring Program, authored by Andy Chan and Jason Payne, the term ‘homicide’ refers to a person killed (unlawfully); a homicide incident is an event in which one or more persons are killed at the same place and time. Homicide is defined by the criminal law of each Australian state and territory. As a result, varying definitions exist between states and territories in terms of its degree, culpability and intent.
The report shows firearms involvement in homicide followed historical trends as their use (and in particular the use of handguns) continues to decrease. By contrast, the use of knives/sharp instruments has increased over time and is the most common weapon used in homicide incidents. The use of knives/sharp instruments was particularly prevalent in domestic and acquaintance homicides.