|Deaths by suicide classified by year of occurrence and sex 2000-2011|
Legal determination of the cause of death
The Criminal Law (Suicide) Act 1993 decriminalised the act of suicide.
The average annual number of deaths over the five year period from 2007 to 2011 was approximately 28,000. In many cases the cause of death is known, i.e. the deceased was under the care of a doctor etc. In these cases the doctor can fill out the Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death in a relatively straightforward manner as the cause was generally an illness or sickness the deceased suffered.
However, in approximately 20% of all cases (5,000 to 6,000 cases annually) the cause of death is not immediately known and the case is referred to a Coroner. Deaths from sudden, unexplained, violent and unnatural deaths must be reported and investigated by the Coroner. The Coroner is an independent office holder with responsibility under the law for the medico-legal investigation.
The Coroner’s investigation may require a post-mortem examination, sometimes followed by an inquest. The Coroner’s inquiry will establish whether death was due to natural or unnatural causes. If death is due to unnatural causes then an inquest must be held by law. An inquest takes place in about 30% of cases referred to a Coroner (some 1,500 to 1,800 cases each year).
The death will be registered by means of a Coroner’s Certificate when the inquest is concluded (or adjourned in some cases).
As an example, in 2010 there were 27,961 deaths.
Statistical Classification - Form 104
A Form 104 is issued by the CSO to the Gardaí in respect of most inquest cases. This form is sent to the Divisional Inspector of the relevant location where the death occurred and is then redirected to the Garda that attended the scene of the death. The Form 104 collects additional information on the circumstances/location of the death and the information returned on this form is strictly confidential under the Statistics Act 1993.
The Garda completing the Form 104 provides his/her opinion as to whether the death was an accident, homicide, suicide or undetermined. That information is taken into account when the CSO assigns a statistical code for cause of death.
The Form 104 was first issued in October 1967 and revised in 1998 following a recommendation by the Taskforce on Suicide, to improve the statistical classification of deaths by suicide. A copy of the revised version of the form is included in the background notes.
Cause of Death Determination Process
The mortality coder in the CSO examines both the Coroner's Certificate and Form 104, where applicable, to determine the statistical classification of the cause of death.
If the Coroner's Certificate states that the death was by suicide and provides enough information to assign a statistical cause of death code, it is not necessary for the CSO to issue a Form 104 to the Gardai. If there is not enough information provided by the Coroner's Certificate then it is necessary for the CSO to issue a Form 104. When assigning a cause of death code, if the Coroner's Certificate does not mention suicide but the Garda states on Form 104 that the death was as a result of intentional self-harm, the statistical cause of death is coded as suicide.
The CSO manually codes and checks all deaths involving an inquest to ensure that the statistical code is correctly assigned.
The classification system used for cause of death is the World Health Organisation's International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10).
|EU-28||Standardised suicide death rate|
|Table 1 Unadjusted and standardised suicide death rates by year of occurrence and sex, 2000 - 2011|
|Rates per 100,000 populaton|
|Table 2 Deaths by suicide classified by age-group and sex, 2007-2011|
|85 and over||0||1||0||1||1|
|85 and over||0||1||0||0||1|
|85 and over||0||0||0||1||0|
|Table 3 Deaths from Intentional Self-harm (suicide) by method classified by year and sex, 2007-2013|
|Drowning and submersion||Male||51||35||42||29||36||36||22|
|Hand gun/firearm discharge||Male||22||29||29||17||27||20||23|
|Smoke,fire and flames||Male||2||3||3||2||5||3||1|
|Steam,hot vapours and||Male||0||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|Using sharp objects||Male||4||8||7||6||5||7||5|
|Jumping from a high place||Male||7||12||6||6||8||4||3|
|Jumping or lying before||Male||2||3||2||4||5||3||1|
|Crashing of motor vehicle||Male||2||1||1||1||1||2||0|
|Other specified means||Male||1||0||1||1||1||1||0|
|Data for 2012 and 2013 is provisional.|
|Table 4 Standardised suicide death rate 2010 EU-28 Member States (Per 100,000 population)|
|FYR of Macedonia||6.7|
|Table 5 Late registrations of deaths and number of suicides registered on the authority of the Superintendent Registrars by year of publication|
|All on time Registered deaths||All Late Registered deaths||Suicides deaths that were registered late||Suicide by:|
|Year of publication||Year of occurrence|
|As a % of all late registered deaths||2009||2008||2007||2006||2005||2004||2003||2002||2001||2000||1999 & prior||Total|
|Annex 1 Number of suicides and unadjusted rate per 100,000 population classified by year and sex 1950-2013|
|Year||Male||Female||Total||Male rate||Female rate||Total rate|
|Please note years 2012-2013 are provisional figures and could still be subject to change.|
Definition of Suicide
In Ireland, suicide is defined as the act of intentionally killing oneself. The classification of a death as suicide is based on a Coroner’s report and, where necessary, a report from the Garda that attended the scene.
Civil Registration Act 2004
All deaths occurring in the State must be registered. The Civil Registration Act 2004 (Part 5 subsection 37) states:
“When a death occurs in the State, it is the duty of
(a) a relative of the deceased who has knowledge of the required particulars in relation to the death, and
(b) if there is no such relative who can be found or every such relative is incapable through ill health of complying with this subsection, each other qualified informant, unless he or she reasonably believes that another qualified informant has complied with it in relation to the death,
within 3 months from the date of death to give to any registrar the required particulars of the death in the form standing specified for the time being by an tArd-Chlaraitheoir”.
A death is registered with a Registrar of Births and Deaths. A relative or other eligible person must obtain a Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death from the medical practitioner who attended the deceased. This Medical Certificate has the following information:
Part 1(a) Disease or condition directly leading to death, (this does not mean the mode of dying e.g. heart failure etc., it means the disease that caused death) due to (or as consequence of)
Part 1(b) Antecedent Causes (morbid conditions, if any, giving rise to the above cause stating the underlying condition last due to (or as consequence of)
Part 1 (c) Further Antecedent Causes
Part 2 Other Significant Conditions (contributing to the death but not related to the disease or condition causing it).
A death is registered when a qualified informant (often a spouse or next-of-kin) attends at the office of the Registrar of Births and Deaths and provides the following information:
This information is recorded on a death notification form. The person registering the death must also produce a Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death signed by a doctor who treated the deceased within one month prior to death.
All deaths that are registered are forwarded electronically by individual registrar’s offices located around the country to the General Register Office (GRO).
The CSO publishes quarterly and annual statistics on deaths classified by year of registration. It also publishes annual statistics on deaths by year of occurrence, with a time lag of about 2 years. The figures in this release are based on year of occurrence unless otherwise stated.
Late registrations, which may occur for a variety of reasons, are not included in the figures. The most common reason for a late registration of a death is that it is referred to the Coroner for further investigation.
In 2011, for example, an additional 578 deaths were registered in respect of previous years. Of these, 25 were classified as suicide in the following years:
An analysis was carried out in respect of the late registrations of suicide deaths from 2006 to 2011. The average (mean) time-lag between the occurrence and the late registration of suicide deaths appears to have widened significantly in 2011 but this can be explained by the late registration of one particular death that occurred in 1978 but was not registered until 2011. The median time-lag appears relatively stable since 2006. See fig. 3 below.
The crude (or unadjusted) death rate describes mortality in relation to the total population. Expressed in deaths per 100,000 of population, it is calculated as the number of deaths recorded in the population for a given period divided by population in the same period and then multiplied by 100,000.
The standardised (or adjusted) death rate is the death rate of a population adjusted to a standard age distribution. It is calculated as a weighted average of the age-specific death rates of a given population; the weights are the age distribution of that population. For example:
As most causes of death vary significantly with people’s age and sex, the use of standardised death rates improves comparability over time and between countries. The reason is that death rates can be measured independently of the age structure of populations in different times and countries (sex ratios usually are more stable).
Standardised death rates are calculated on the basis of the 'European Standard Population' revised by Eurostat in 2012 (and published in 2013).
Suicide data 1950-2013
The numbers of recorded suicides and crude rates classified by gender from 1950 to 2013 are provided in Annex 1. Data for 2012 and 2013 are based on date of registration of death.
Data should be interpreted with care and as population changes, attitudes to death from self-harm, the introduction of the Form 104 in 1967 and it's revision in 1998, the Criminal Law (Suicide) Act 1993 and other factors would affect trends over time.
Form 104Hide Background Notes
|Year||Average time-lag (Days)||Median time-lag (Days)|
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