Risks of Intimate Partner Homicide According to Relationship Status and State

Holly Johnson, Statistics Canada
Tina Hotton, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics

Domestic violence studies that differentiate between current and past partners find that violence committed in the aftermath of separation is more serious on average, more frequent and more likely to result in injury, hospitalization and homicide. Women more often than men are assaulted, threatened, hunted down and killed by extremely jealous and possessive partners. Rates of intimate female partner homicide in Canada are higher for women in common-law relationships than for those in legal marriages, and highest for women who have recently separated. Dawson and Gartner (1998) conceptualize intimate partner homicides according to relationship state (intact or estranged) and relationship status (legal, cohabitating or dating) and found important differences related to employment, age and criminal record of perpetrators and the circumstances of the event. Following from Dawson and Gartner's work, this study will assess differences in the context and circumstances surrounding homicides committed by intimate partners in Canada, according to relationship status and state, in the ten-year period 1991-2000. Data are drawn from Statistics Canada's annual Homicide Survey.

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Updated 05/20/2006