Half of Aussie murder victims killed with a knife

NEARLY half of the 274 murder victims in Australia in 2011 were killed with a knife, figures from the Australian Institute of Criminology have revealed.

In its annual crime report, the AIC also found most people were killed in a dwelling, at 70% of all murders, and Australians were least likely to be killed on public transport.

Men remained the most common murder victims, with those aged 25 to 44 and 45 to 64 years of age most likely to be killed.

Of all the murders committed last year, 47% of murder weapons were knives, 24% were firearms, followed by 16% of "other weapons", 11% of weapons not defined and 2% using a bar, bat or club.

Since a peak of 344 murder victims in 1999, the number of murders in Australia has continued to decline, down to 244 victims in 2011.

For assaults, 65% of all assaults were committed by family members of other people known to the victim, with 29% committed by a stranger and 6% recorded as "relationship not known".

The figures also revealed the vast majority of 17,238 victims of sexual assaults were females aged between 10 and 24 years old.

Most sexual assaults, at 60%, were committed in a private dwelling, and between 4% and 8% at a range of other locations including retail environments, on the streets, on transport or other community areas.

Victims of sexual assault largely knew their attackers, with 80% of sexual assaults committed by someone known to the victim, or by family members.

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