Assessing Risk in Lethal and Non-Lethal Intimate Partner Violence

R. Emerson Dobash, University of Manchester
Russell P. Dobash, University of Manchester
Kate Cavanagh, University of Glasgow
Ruth Lewis, University of Newcastle
Juan Jose Medina-Ariza, University of Manchester

ABSTRACT
Using data from the Homicide in Britain study and a separate study of men convicted of assaulting their intimate female partner, this paper explores the individual, contextual and situational factors associated with intimate partner violence. The recently completed Homicide in Britain study yielded a number of data sets, including intensive information on 866 cases of convicted murderers. Using these data we compare men who have killed intimate partners (n=106) with those who have killed in other circumstances (n=680). This comparison reveals that men who kill intimate partners are, for example, much less likely to have 'untoward' experiences in childhood and criminogenic backgrounds than men who kill others. Situational factors also vary. Men who kill intimate partners are more likely to be employed and less likely to be drinking at the time of the murder than men who kill in other circumstances. Overall, the comparisons reveal that intimate partner killers are rather more 'conventional' than men who kill in other circumstances. When intimate partner killers were compared to men convicted of assaulting their partners (n=122), the results also suggest that intimate partner killers are likely to be more conventional than men convicted of assault and that 'contested' relationships, particularly those characterised by estrangement, constitute a significant risk factor for intimate partner murder.

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Updated 05/20/2006