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Unassisted suicides rise after Assisted Suicide legislation in Australia

Assisted Suicide
9 January 2024
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Recent research in the Journal of Ethics in Mental Health reveals that since Victoria, Australia, legalised Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD), there has been no decline in unassisted suicide rates as had been suggested by campaigners.

In fact, suicides among the elderly have risen over 50% since the law's 2019 enactment.

Victoria's adoption of VAD in December 2017, the first in Australia, had been influenced by the Victorian Coroner's reports of "50 cases per year" of suicide among terminally ill individuals. The statistic was central to the Parliamentary debate and was cited by figures like Health Minister Jill Hennessy and the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

However, post-VAD implementation data indicates an increase in suicides, particularly among those over 65, from 102 in 2018 to 156 in 2022, as per the Victoria Suicide Register.

This latest study challenges the assumption that the introduction of assisted suicides would prevent elderly people from commiting suicide themselves, contrary to claims from advocates, and highlights the importance of evidence-based decision-making in such critical matters.

Other studies have also demonstrated a causal link between the introduction of assisted suicide laws and an increase in non-assisted suicides (particularly for women) in both Europe and North America. In 2022, there were four peer-reviewed studies on the topic, indicating the trend, and in Oregon, suicide rates have risen by 24% since assisted suicide was introduced.

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Assisted Suicide

Where assisted suicide is legal, it makes vulnerable people feel like a burden. CARE works to uphold laws that protect those people, and to assist them to live—not to commit suicide.

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