Homicide Sentencing

In November 2004, the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) released the Defences to Homicide final report. In its report, the VLRC recommended that the Sentencing Advisory Council establish a statistical database to monitor sentencing trends in homicide cases, including where:

  • the offender killed a person who subjected her or him to family violence
  • the offender had previously subjected the deceased to violence
  • the offender acted under provocation from the deceased
  • the offender was suffering from a mental condition at the time of killing.

The Sentencing Advisory Council, in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) and the Department of Justice, developed a unique database containing information on the characteristics of homicide incidents, offenders, victims, and sentencing outcomes that occurred in Victoria between 30 June 1990 and 30 June 2005 and that were sentenced in the criminal courts between 30 June 1999 and 30 June 2006.

Information on a total of 208 homicide incidents (relating to 243 offenders and 216 victims) was available for analysis. In November 2007, the outcomes of this analysis were released in the Homicide in Victoria: Offenders, Victims and Sentencing statistical report.

The VLRC also recommended the partial defence of provocation be abolished, with provocation to be considered in sentencing alongside other sentencing factors.  The Council's Provocation in Sentencing Research Paper suggests an approach to considering provocation in sentencing that seeks to avoid the difficulties of the pre-existing law.