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Risk factors for male perpetration and female victimization of intimate partner homicide: A Meta-Analysis

Spencer, C.M., & Stith, S.M. (2020)

Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 21(3), 527 – 560


This study reports that the strongest risk factors for intimate partner homicide (IPH) were the perpetrator having direct access to a gun, perpetrator’s previous nonfatal strangulation, perpetrator’s previous rape of the victim, perpetrator’s previous threat with a weapon, the perpetrator’s demonstration of controlling behaviors, and the perpetrator’s previous threats to harm the victim. Implications for law enforcement personnel, medical professionals, victim advocates, mental health professionals, and other professionals who may be in contact with potential IPH perpetrators and victims are discussed in this article.

Expanded Abstract:

Approximately 13.5% of all homicides worldwide are committed by a current or former intimate partner (Stöckl et al., 2013). When examining gender differences in global IPH victimization, data reports that approximately 38.6% of homicides committed against women and 6.3% of homicides committed against men are committed by an intimate partner (Stöckl et al., 2013). One of the most recognized predictors of attempted or completed IPH is a previous history of intimate partner violence (IPV) (Block, 2000; Campbell, Glass, Sharps, Laughon, & Bloom, 2007; Campbell et al., 2003; Garcia, Soria, & Hurwitz, 2007). While significant research has addressed risk factors for IPV, fewer research studies have been published about the risk factors for IPH. Although previous IPV is regarded as the number one risk factor for IPH (Campbell et al., 2007), research has highlighted the importance of examining risk factors for IPH extensively in order to aid in identifying IPV victims who may be at a greater risk of IPH (Campbell, 1986; Campbell et al., 2003; Nicolaidis et al., 2003; Sheehan, Murphy, Moynihan, Dudley-Fennessey, & Stapleton, 2015). Examining IPH risk factors in populations who have experienced IPV can help professionals in the community (i.e., first responders, victim’s advocates, therapists, and those working at domestic violence shelters) identify victims of IPV that are at an increased risk of IPH, which can ultimately aid in the reduction of rates of IPH or attempted IPH.