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Intimate Partner Homicide: An Overview

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue: 250 Dated: November 2003 Pages: 2-3
Date Published
November 2003
2 pages
Publication Series
This article provides an overview of intimate partner homicide issues.
The decline of intimate partner violence in the past 25 years has masked the important fact that women are substantially more likely than men to be murdered by their intimate partners. The findings in these articles examine which women are most at risk for being a murder victim and consider the policies that may help to explain the declines or to result in further declines. The three key risk factors in violence against women that predict a lethal outcome are the type of past violence, recency of attack, and frequency of violence. There are strong correlations between partner alcohol and substance abuse and the killing of women by their intimate partners. Risk assessment instruments have proven useful in predicting eventual murder. Drug use, serious alcohol abuse, and gun possession are found to be highly associated with the murder of women by their intimate partners. In terms of policies and practices that might explain the reduction in intimate partner homicides, exposure reduction strategies - strategies that shorten the time that couples are in contact with each other - are considered, with mixed results. The impacts of some criminal justice policies vary by race, gender, and marital status, with unmarried partners often being negatively affected by the policies and married partners helped by them. None of the policies examined address the use of drugs or alcohol or the removal of guns from domestic violence situations. The use of fatality reviews is recommended as a way to assess where criminal justice and social services systems fail in preventing homicides. The articles demonstrate the disconnect between social policies and the risk factors associated with intimate partner homicide. The extent to which victim services and criminal justice systems focus on these factors could lead to a reduction, not only of intimate partner homicide, but of other homicides as well. 1 note

Date Published: November 1, 2003