Temporal aspects of child homicide in Australia

Amber McKinley, Rachel MacCulloch, Martin Lark

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Abstract

Using National Homicide Monitoring Program data from 1989 to 2012,
this study examined the temporal aspects of child homicide in Australia. It
was hypothesised that there would be daily and weekly variation in the
occurrence of child homicide, with peaks in the late afternoon, evening,
and early hours of the morning and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. It
was also hypothesised that the number of child homicides would be evenly
distributed across seasons. The sample consisted of 916 children (aged 0–
17) killed in 802 homicide incidents in Australia between 1989 to 2012.
Data relating to time of day, and day of the week, were analysed using a
chi-square test, followed with calculations of incidence ratios and 95%
confidence intervals. Data relating to season of the year were examined
descriptively, due to uncontrollable factors preventing significance testing.
Results partially supported the hypotheses. There was daily and weekly
variation in the occurrence of child homicide, with peaks in the evening
hours and on Saturdays; however, no peaks were observed on Fridays and
Sundays. Additionally, the hypothesis that child homicides peak in the late
afternoon and early hours of the morning was unable to be accepted or
rejected due to grouping issues. The study also found slight seasonal
variation in the occurrence of child homicide, with a slight peak in spring;
however, whether this peak is significant is unknown.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalSalus Journal
Volume4
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

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