Academic journal article Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice

Gay-Hate Related Homicides: An Overview of Major Findings in New South Wales

Academic journal article Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice

Gay-Hate Related Homicides: An Overview of Major Findings in New South Wales

Article excerpt

Each year some men are murdered in Australia because they are homosexual. Since 1990, the New South Wales Police Service, through its Gay and Lesbian Client Consultant has systematically recorded gayhate related killings in New South Wales. The Australian Institute of Criminology has collected data on all homicides coming to police attention in Australia as part of the National Homicide Monitoring Program. Using these datasets, this paper compares the victims and offenders in gay-hate related homicides with other male homicides in New South Wales and finds that the victims are generally older than other male homicide victims and are more likely to have been beaten to death. The offenders are much more likely to be younger than other homicide offenders, and more likely to be unemployed (82%) and unmarried (77%). This paper summarises the differences and similarities between gay-hate related homicides against men and other male homicides in an attempt to achieve a fuller understanding of the most extreme form of hate crime-homicide. For this reason, this study is an important contribution to hate crime research.

Adam Graycar

Director

The literature on hate crime in the last 15 years covers a wealth of surveys, research and theories on crimes of bias/ prejudice which target another person because of their sexuality, race, ethnicity or religion. There are inherent difficulties associated with research into the most extreme form of hate crime-homicide, and more specifically gay-hate related homicides. Some of these difficulties include the accurate identification, classification and recording of these incidents once the primary witness has been killed. A gay prejudice related homicide or gay-hate related homicide is one where the victim may have been gay or perceived to be gay and the offender's actions motivated to some significant degree by prejudice or homophobia.

The New South Wales Police Gay/Lesbian Client Consultant has compiled and collated details of these homicides for 10 years, monitored trends, and encouraged researchers to conduct valuable studies such as those by Tomsen (1994) and Tomsen and George (1997). For a case to be included in the dataset, there must be a primary, but not necessarily sole, causal link between the offender's apparent prejudice towards gay men/lesbians and their lethal act of violence.

Similar to the monitoring role of the New South Wales Police Gay/Lesbian Client Consultant, the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) through its National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) has collected details of all homicide incidents, victims and offenders that have occurred in each Australian state and territory since 1 July 1989. The existence of these two datasets has facilitated comparative research such as the present study.

Aims of the Present Study

This study sought to compare male gay-hate related homicides with other New South Wales male homicides. However, it should be noted that since the research was completed, police identified a possible lesbian-hate-related homicide in rural New South Wales in August 1999. This study examines differences and similarities between male gayhate related and other male homicides, focusing on characteristics associated with the incident, victim and offender, and the victim-offender relationship. Another aim was to achieve a fuller understanding of the most extreme form of hate crime homicide, and to discuss preventative strategies.

Methodology

Data Sources

One of the data sources used in this study was the National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) held at the AIC. The present study analysed NHMP data for the state of New South Wales only and this data was supplemented by data provided by the New South Wales Police Gay/Lesbian Client Consultant. All statistical analyses were then conducted using NHMP data, comparing male gay-hate related homicides with male non-gay hate related homicides (other homicides). …

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