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As suicide is no longer a crime, why do people say, committed suicide?

by Finy (follow)
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Suicide used to be a crime in Australia.

It is no longer a crime apart from in the Northern Territory.

Why do people still say COMMITTED suicide instead of COMPLETED suicide or SUICIDED?

Do you think the word committed makes it more hurtful to suicide survivors?

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Top Answers
My son and I lost 2 extremely close to us,through the act of suicide.It was,and after all these years still is,awfully crippling to all concerned. In N.Z. where one of these losses occurred after the person involved had actually admitted himself to a major psychiatric ward for help for his severe depression at just 23 years of age,the fact that he was not even monitored sparked a huge government inquiry into the entire situation involving this and similar cases. Likewise ,the young man who died on the Sunshine Coast a year or so later,ignited an impressive media coverage into Youth suicide .among males aged 17 to 25 years. As my son was just 12 and 14 years of age at the times of these devastating losses,I was adamant that he knew how important it is to know that there is always someone to talk to if ever he feels the need in times of stress. I never used the term 'Committed' and have always been quick to correct people who do use this ugly word. It was my young lad who actually asked me what had 'driven' these precious people in our lives to such an act of desperation,rather than why had they committed suicide. As I was a sole parent for most of my son's life,and he had witnessed me in and out of hospital having major surgeries,I knew that there would be a high chance that he would very likely feel a sense of total unfairness and sadness in his own world,and this was why I always talked openly with him about any thing at all when ever he was ready to discuss such matters.I also made certain that he was comfortable to go and talk to our GP when he was confused or feeling flat. How Suicide could ever be a crime has baffled me since my own childhood as it seemed to me a total contradiction of terms! The words COMMIT and COMMITTED affected me deeply even all those years ago. Language has always been a forte of mine and I love its correct useage. Thus, to use words which can be so hurtful,and which continually cause distress and pain to others to me is the real crime here. Thank Heavens that Suicide no longer is one.
Good question. I think language sometimes takes a while to catch up with the changing world. Many people probably aren't aware that the law has changed, and those who are probably don't think much about the phrasing. If it's really hurtful for survivors maybe there needs to be some sort of awareness campaign to teach people the right thing to say.
I agree Jennifer -however who cares but suicide survivors -I have tried emails to the Press and doesnt help at all -perhaps the word "committed" sounds more spectacular or something when reported in the News.
I didnt even get replies to my emails.
by Finy
I didn't realise that it had been 'legalised'. I imagine the turn of phrase just continued and over time it will evolve - much like the English language.
Me either, although I could never understand WHY it was a crime, only a sad and desperate act :(((
by Rice
Sometimes we do have issues with words, and at times they
can seem to be quite strange.
I fully take your point, unless there is a change...we just have to
shake our heads...And, wonder 'why'.
It is insensitive.
I would have thought that a suicide survivor wouldn't have " committed" anything anyway because of the fact that they did survive. I had no idea that it was ever considered a crime and just thought that'd the word committed had come about for want of an adjective. It does sound insensitive now that I know what it means.

Yes, apparently it used to be a crime in Australia
by Finy
To say a survivor "committed" suicide isn't correct, that's why it's said that they "attempted" suicide, which does allude to criminal activity, like "attempted" robbery, doesn't it? Interesting question.
by Vee
It has been a crime in most western countries in earlier times just like homosexuallity
by erics
I don't understand how committing suicide could ever be a crime. What is the law going to do to you once your dead? Shouldn't it have been 'attempted' suicide? Either way, I think it is disgusting that someone who is obviously suffering from depression, severe stress, or mental illness should be treated as a criminal. I am glad the law was lifted, but I see what you men about the word 'committed'. On the other hand, I don't know how else you would phrase it.
Bryony, I now say she "completed suicide" or just she "suicided". It just made it worse and I flinch each time someone says Committed suicide on TV. Or as you say, "attempted suicide" if they do not complete.
To do this, you must be in such a low place, that it must be terrible.
by Finy
The accepted terms in the mental health field are "attempted" and "completed".
by kimp
Yes parks, but few and far between know this and on and on I hear "committed" which is insulting to me
by Finy
I agree - it is insulting to refer to someone who is/was essentially sick/unwell as having committed some sort of crime - adds insult to injury.
by kimp
I am very sad to say I had never thought about "committed" the act as being the same as "committed a crime". I hope the language for this does evolve to save the families from further pain. I shall attempt to amend my language in future too :((
by Rice
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