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Special Collection: Intimate Partner Homicide Prevention

Table of Contents:

“If I can’t have you,
no one can.”




Introduction | Back to top

children's art grieving loss of parent

The most tragic consequence of domestic violence is undoubtedly the death of one or both intimate partners, and in some cases, their children or family and friends of the victim. Intimate partner homicide is the final assertion of power and control in an abusive relationship and, paradoxically, an acknowledgment of the abuser’s loss of control (Websdale, 1999).

Although intimate partner homicide has declined over the past decades (especially among male victims), the available research shows that women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner (husband, boyfriend, same-sex partner, or ex) than by anyone else (Catalano, 2007). This collection offers resources to support the expansion of services and systems’ responses that are critically important to the prevention and continued decline of intimate partner homicides.

Much is known about the risk factors that increase the danger that victim will be killed by her intimate partner. The predominant risk factor for intimate partner homicide is prior physical abuse, particularly physical assaults that have recently escalated in frequency and severity (Block, 2003). Other risk factors identified in the research include stalking, estrangement (physical leaving, legal separation, etc.); strangulation (choking) during an assault; threats to kill; prior use of or access to weapons, especially firearms; forced sex; controlling, possessive, jealous behavior; drug and/or alcohol abuse; and, to lesser degrees, the presence in the household of children who are not the batterer’s biological offspring; and unemployment of the batterer (Roehl, O’Sullivan, Webster, & Campbell, 2005 & Campbell et al., 2003a).

Sadly, leaving an abusive relationship doesn’t necessarily end the violence, and therefore leaving isn’t always the safest choice for victims. In fact, “the extant research literature shows that women experience an increased risk of lethal violence when they leave intimate relationships with men” (Websdale, 1999). It is essential that helping professionals become familiar with lethality risk factors so that they can best minimize these risks and support the informed choices of domestic violence survivors.

"If I die, I want you to tell the world what happened to me. I don't want other women to suffer as I have suffered. I want them to be listened to." ~ Maria Teresa Macias

This collection provides:

  • national and statewide homicide statistics that help illustrate the scope of the problem;
  • an overview of tools and strategies for assessing danger or the risk of lethality in domestic violence cases;
  • recommendations and approaches for utilizing the fatality review process to prevent intimate partner homicide;
  • materials describing various systems’ responses to domestic violence and efforts to prevent homicide;
  • resources to assist advocates in helping to frame the issue through media response and community mobilization; and
  • resources addressing the grief and trauma experienced by loved ones of those whose lives are lost to domestic violence.

This resource was developed by VAWnet and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. Special thanks to the Battered Women's Justice Project, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence for their contributions. To recommend additional resources for this collection, please Contact Us.

The Scope of the Problem: Intimate Partner Homicide Statistics | Back to top

The available research shows that women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner (husband, boyfriend, same-sex partner, or ex) than by anyone else (Catalano, 2007). Overall (from 1976-2005), about one third of female murder victims were killed by an intimate partner (Catalano, 2007). In 2008, twelve (12) times as many females were murdered by a male they knew than were killed by male strangers. For victims who knew their offenders, 64% of female homicide victims were wives or intimate acquaintances of their killers (VPC, 2010). Men can also be victims of intimate partner homicide. In recent years, about 3% of male murder victims were killed by an intimate (Catalano, 2007). There is reason to believe that the motivation for these female perpetrated crimes may be self defense or retaliation, as the majority of women who use violence against their male partners are battered themselves (Das Dasgupta, 2001). For more information about battered women who use violence, contact the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, a partner of the Battered Women's Justice Project, or see additional resources on VAWnet related to Women Who Use Force/Self Defense. Another helpful resource is Domestic Violence Turning Points, offering A Nonviolence Curriculum for Women who use both legal and illegal violence against their partners.

Data on intimate partner homicide provides a glaring picture of the magnitude and devastating toll that intimate partner violence can take. Therefore, the available data can be a valuable tool to aid advocates in their continuous efforts, including policy change, fundraising, and public education. This section includes several reports and other website resources providing the most current data and analyses available on the prevalence and incidence of intimate partner violence, with special focus on homicides/femicides. The section is broken down into three sub-sections: National, Specific Populations, and State-Specific. For ideas about how advocates can use homicide data in order to raise community awareness of domestic violence and mobilize social change, see the section Using Fatality Review Reports in Our Work.

National Homicide Data
Resources providing national data and analyses of intimate partner homicide, including information on murder-suicide, are highlighted below.
  • Homicide Trends In The United States | PDF PDF
    by James Alan Fox and Marianne W. Zawitz, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
    This webpage contains a series of charts that describe homicide patterns and trends in the United States since 1976.
    + View Summary
  • Surveillance for Violent Deaths: National Violent Death Reporting System, 16 States, 2007 | PDF PDF (56 p.)
    by Debra L. Karch, Linda L. Dahlberg, and Nimesh Patel for the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (CDC) (May 2010)
    This report summarizes data from CDC's National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) regarding violent deaths from 16 U.S. states for 2007.
    + View Summary
  • Intimate Partner Homicide | PDF PDF
    by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (November 2003)
    This issue of the NIJ Journal focuses on the topic of intimate partner homicide.
    + View Summary
  • Intimate Partner Violence in the United States | HTML HTML PDF PDF (46 p.)
    by Shannan Catalano, Ph.D., Statistician for the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (December 2007)
    Includes statistical trends related to incidence and prevalence of intimate partner violence in the US according to: victim characteristics, offender characteristics, circumstances, injury and treatment, victim assistance, and reporting to the police.
    + View Summary
  • Criminal Victimization, 2009 | PDF PDF (16 p.)
    by Michael Rand and Jennifer Truman for the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) (October 2010)
    This report presents the annual estimates of rates and levels of violent crime, property crime, and personal theft. It includes data on the characteristics of victims of crime; estimates of intimate partner violence; and use of firearms and other weapons during the crime.
    + View Summary
  • Female Victims of Violence | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by Shannan Catalano, Ph.D., Erica Smith, Howard Snyder, Ph.D., and Michael Rand, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) (September 2009)
    This report provides the current findings on nonfatal and fatal violent crimes committed against females.
    + View Summary
  • When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2008 Homicide Data | PDF PDF (33 p.)
    by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) (September 2010)
    This report details national and state-by-state information on female homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender.
    + View Summary
  • American Roulette: Murder-Suicide in the United States | PDF PDF (18 p.)
    by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) (April 2008)
    This VPC study is the largest and most comprehensive analysis conducted on murder-suicide in the U.S.
    + View Summary
  • Murder-Suicide in Families | HTML HTML
    by National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
    This webpage highlights research findings on murder-suicide in the family.
    + View Summary
  • A Deadly Myth: Women, Handguns, and Self-Defense | HTML HTML
    by Karen Brock for the Violence Policy Center (VPC) (January 2001)
    Analyzing FBI data, this study reports that a woman is far more likely to be the victim of a handgun homicide than to use a handgun in a justifiable homicide.
    + View Summary
Homicide Data for Specific Populations
The following list highlights available information on intimate partner homicides among specific populations.
  • Shattered Lives: Homicides, Domestic Violence and Asian Families | PDF PDF (86 p.)
    by Chic Dabby, Hetana Patel and Grace Poore for the Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence / Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (February 2010)
    This report analyzes 160 cases of domestic violence related homicides in Asian families based on newspaper clippings and information from advocates for a six-year period (from 2000 to 2005).
    + View Summary
  • Immigrant & Refugee Victims of Domestic Violence Homicide in Washington State | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by the Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) (June 2011)
    This fact sheet provides information on immigrant and refugee victims of domestic violence that were killed by their abusers in Washington State from 1997 through 2009.
    + View Summary
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence in the United States in 2009 | PDF PDF (104 p.)
    by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (2010)
    This annual report documents 6 murders related to LGBTQ domestic/intimate partner violence, representing a 50% rise since 2007.
    + View Summary
  • When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2008 Homicide Data | PDF PDF (33 p.)
    by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) (September 2010)
    This report details national and state-by-state information on female homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender, and includes a section specific to Black women.
    + View Summary
  • Now That We Know: Findings and Recommendations from the Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review | PDF PDF (100 p.)
    by Jake Fawcett, Kelly Starr, and Ankita Patel for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) (December 2008)
    This report offers key data findings on domestic violence homicides in Washington State, including data specific to women of color -- who have been found to be at a 2.5 to 3.5 times greater risk for homicide than white women.
    + View Summary
State-Specific Homicide Data
Resources in this section are offered as examples of how different states across the country have collected and reported data on domestic violence related homicides. This is not a comprehensive list of state reports, but rather a sampling for your consideration and reference. Additional state reports are available through the National Domestic Violence Fatality Initiative. Please consult your domestic violence coalition for the most current information available in your state. For a complete list of up-to-date contact information for all domestic and sexual violence coalitions across the United States and its Territories visit: http://www.vawnet.org/links/state-coalitions.php. Another resource for assistance in finding state-specific statistics is the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Data Resource Center. Funded by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the purpose of the Center is to provide information to researchers, practitioners and members of the public interested in finding, using, or understanding domestic and sexual violence and stalking data.

ALABAMA

  • 2009 Domestic Violence in Alabama | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by the Statistical Analysis Center of the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center
    This report provides data on domestic violence offenses in Alabama, including homicides, for the calendar year of 2009.
    + View Summary

INDIANA

  • 2010 Indiana Domestic Violence Homicides | PDF PDF (5 p.)
    by the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV)
    This document provides information on domestic violence related deaths in Indiana for the year 2010.
    + View Summary

MARYLAND

  • Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence Annual Memorial Service | HTML HTML
    by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV) (February 2011)
    This page provides information on individuals who died in Maryland as a result of domestic violence between July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010.
    + View Summary

MASSACHUSETTS

  • Domestic Violence Homicides in Massachusetts: Tracking Analysis 2003-2010 | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Jane Doe, Inc.
    This document provides information on domestic violence homicides in Massachusetts from 2003 to 2010.
    + View Summary

MINNESOTA

  • 2010 Femicide Report | PDF PDF (31 p.)
    by the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW)
    The Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women publishes The Femicide Report, a report on women and children murdered in Minnesota, to educate the public about the lethality of domestic violence and child abuse.
    + View Summary

NEW JERSEY

  • Deaths associated with intimate partner violence, New Jersey, 2003-2007: An Office of Injury Surveillance and Prevention Brief | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by the New Jersey Office of Injury Surveillance and Prevention and the New Jersey Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board (May 11, 2009)
    This report provides data about deaths associated with intimate partner violence in New Jersey for the years 2003 to 2007.
    + View Summary

NEW HAMPSHIRE

  • Beyond Statistics: Intimate Partner Homicides 2005-2007, The High Price of Domestic Violence in New Hampshire | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee of the Governor’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence
    Using media reports, this document provides information about the intimate partner related homicides that occurred between January 2005 and October 2007 in the state of New Hampshire.
    + View Summary

NORTH CAROLINA

  • Domestic Violence Homicides 2010 | HTML HTML
    by the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCCADV)
    This page provides information on domestic violence homicides in North Carolina for the year 2010.
    + View Summary

PENNSYLVANIA

  • Domestic Violence Fatalities in Pennsylvania – 2009 | PDF PDF (20 p.)
    by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) (2010)
    Using information from Pennsylvania newspapers, this annual report has since 1998 conveyed the lethality of domestic violence in the Commonwealth.
    + View Summary

WASHINGTON

  • 2010 Domestic Violence Fatalities in Washington State | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) (February 2011)
    This document provides data on domestic violence fatalities in Washington State for the year 2010.
    + View Summary

WISCONSIN

  • Wisconsin Domestic Violence Homicide Report, 2009 | PDF PDF (48 p.)
    by Jane Sadusky for the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WCADV (September 2010)
    This report details domestic violence-related homicides in Wisconsin for the calendar year 2009.
    + View Summary

Safety Planning & Danger Assessment Tools | Back to top

“Threats to kill are integral parts of many abusive relationships, most of which do not end in homicide” (Websdale, 1999, p. 22). However, women whose partners threatened them with murder are 15 times more likely than other women to be killed (Campbell et al., 2003b). Helping survivors to assess both the risks and protective factors present in their intimate relationships can be a critial step in recognizing the potential for homicide.

Considerations for Enhancing Safety
While safety planning is related to determining the risk of danger or lethality, the considerations are different. Safety planning is an interactive process done with the victim to assess and re-assess her risks and needs, as well as her strengths and strategies used to address those risks and needs.
  • Assessing Social Risks of Battered Women | PDF PDF (9 p.)
    by Radhia A. Jaaber and Shamita Das Dasgupta, Praxis International
    Whether visible to outside observers or not, social risks are real and significant to the individual battered woman.
    + View Summary
  • Safety Planning | PDF PDF (12 p.)
    by Jill Davies (Updated August 2009)
    This paper discusses how to implement comprehensive safety planning for battered women using a woman-defined model. Discusses batterer-generated and life-generated risks, and the role of advocates in supporting safety planning strategies.
    + View Summary
  • Keeping Safe: A Workbook for Developing Safety Plans | PDF PDF (38 p.)
    by Women In Transition, Inc.
    This workbook is designed to help women focus on behaviors and activities relative to their fundamental safety, helping to highlight the complex network of needs and problems each woman may encounter, her survival skills and strengths, and how she can or has already used them to prioritize the difficult areas of her life.
    + View Summary
  • Creating Sustainable Safety for Battered Women | PDF PDF (13 p.)
    by Shamita Das Dasgupta by Praxis International
    Whether we are assessing risks, advocating for an individual, making policies, or evaluating programs, thinking critically and broadly about women’s safety undoubtedly enhances the effectiveness of our work on behalf of battered women.
    + View Summary
  • Battered Women's Protective Strategies | PDF PDF (14 p.)
    by Sherry Hamby with contributions from Andrea Bible (July 2009)
    This Applied Research paper adopts a holistic approach to understand battered women's protective strategies, reviewing a wide range of strategies used by women to cope with numerous threats posed by battering, not just the threat of bodily harm.
    + View Summary
  • When Battered Women Stay... Advocacy Beyond Leaving | PDF PDF (19 p.)
    by Jill Davies, Publication #20, Building Comprehensive Solutions to Domestic Violence, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (June 2008)
    This paper raises key issues, questions, and dilemmas regarding advocacy with battered women who stay in their relationships. It discusses limitations of safety strategies for leaving, and frames issues central to the expansion of advocacy beyond leaving.
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  • Advocacy Beyond Leaving: Helping Battered Women in Contact with Current or Former Partners, A Guide for Domestic Violence Advocates | PDF PDF (36 p.)
    by Jill Davies for Futures Without Violence (formerly the Futures Without Violence)
    Using the familiar and concrete framework of woman-defined advocacy, the Guide explains advocates’ important role in safety planning when victims are in contact with current or former partners.
    + View Summary
Tools & Strategies for Assessing Danger or Risk of Lethality

While lethality assessment and risk assessment are overlapping concepts, they do not measure the same thing. The main difference is whether a tool was designed to measure 1) the risk of reoffense/reassault (the likelihood that abuse will occur again, often measured after corrective action has been taken, a.k.a, “recidivism”) or 2) the risk of homicide (the likelihood that a fatality will result). After the general resources provided below, you will find materials related to five leading assessment tools. Each tool includes a notation about the field of intended use, the perspective being evaluated, and an indication of whether the tool assesses reoffense/reassault or lethality risk.

The Empowerment Process Model illustrated here (Bennett Cattaneo & Chapman, 2010) provides a helpful framework for engaging in risk assessment that shifts the focus from prediction to management. Lauren Bennett Cattaneo (2010) suggests that instead of asking, "What are the chances violence will occur?" we should instead ask, "Under what circumstances might violence occur, and how might we change them?" Effective risk assessment practices need to pull prediction into management, give victim voice, and integrate advocate expertise.

  • Risk Assessment and Intimate Partner Violence: Bridging Research and Practice | Other PPT Other MP3
    by Lauren Bennett Cattaneo for the Battered Women’s Justice Project (May 18, 2011)
    This webinar (slidewhow & audio recording) presents three areas of research on risk assessment in intimate partner violence and describes future directions for linking research and practice in a way that pulls prediction into management, gives victim voice, and integrates advocate expertise.
    + View Summary
  • Lethality Assessment Tools: A Critical Analysis | PDF PDF (9 p.)
    by Neil Websdale (2000)
    This document critiques several lethality assessment tools and examines the link between these instruments and research on domestic homicide. Discusses the antecedents of lethal violence and utility of dangeousness assessment tools in promoting safety.
    + View Summary
  • Overview of Domestic Violence (DV) Risk Assessment Instruments (Frequently Asked Questions) | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by Kristin Bechtel and Bill Woodward, U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections (August 2008)
    This paper describes several risk assessment instruments available to the corrections community, and addresses frequently asked questions regarding implementation and other considerations.
    + View Summary
  • Inventory of Spousal Violence Risk Assessment Tools Used in Canada | PDF PDF (26 p.)
    by Allison Millar for Department of Justice Canada
    This report provides descriptions and analyses of assessment tools, investigative checklists, and protocols used by criminal justice personnel in Canada to measure risk in domestic violence cases.
    + View Summary
  • The Validity of Risk Assessments for Intimate Partner violence: A Meta-Analysis | PDF PDF (29 p.)
    by R. Karl Hanson, Leslie Helmus, and Guy Bourgon, Public Safety Canada (2007)
    This meta-analysis reviews the predictive accuracy of different approaches and tools that are used to assess the risk of recidivism for male spousal assault offenders.
    + View Summary
  • Intimate Partner Violence Risk Assessment Validation Study: The RAVE Study - Summary and Recommendations: Validation of Tools for Assessing Risk from Violent Intimate Partners | PDF PDF (17 p.)
    by Janice Roehl, Chris O’Sullivan, Daniel Webster, and Jacquelyn Campbell, U.S. Department of Justice (Revised December 2005)
    The central purpose of this study was to assess the accuracy of several different approaches to predicting risk of future harm or lethality in domestic violence cases.
    + View Summary
  • PROTECT: Identifying and Protecting High Risk Victims of Gender Based Violence - an Overview | PDF PDF (92 p.)
    by Ute Rösemann, Branislava Marvanová Vargová, and Regina Webhofer for WAVE - Women Against Violence Europe (2010)
    This report summarizes project PROTECT which aims at contributing to the prevention and reduction of the most serious forms of gender-based violence against girls, young women and their children, such as grievous bodily harm, homicide and attempted homicide, including so-called honour crimes and killings.
    + View Summary
  • Assessing Risk To Children From Batterers | PDF PDF (19 p.)
    by Lundy Bancroft and Jay G. Silverman (2002)
    Overview of potential sources of harm to children from contact with batterers, recommendations for evaluating risk, and assessment guidelines that professionals can apply in cases where a batterer admits to a history of abusiveness.
    + View Summary

1. DANGER ASSESSMENT
Intended field: advocates/health professionals
Perspective: victim
Assesses: lethality risk

  • Danger Assessment | HTML HTML (1 p.)
    by Jacquelyn C. Campbell, Johns Hopkins University, School of Nursing (2004)
    The Danger Assessment (DA) was originally developed by Co-Investigator Campbell (1986) with consultation and content validity support from battered women, shelter workers, law enforcement officials, and other clinical experts on battering.
    + View Summary
  • Assessing Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Homicide | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by Jacquelyn C. Campbell, Daniel Webster, Jane Koziol-McLain, Carolyn Rebecca Block, Doris Campbell, Mary Ann Curry, Faye Gary, Judith McFarlane, Carolyn Sachs, Phyllis Sharps, Yvonne Ulrich, and Susan A. Wilt, National Institute of Justice [NIJ Journal - ISSUE NO. 250] (November 2003)
    The findings reported here indicate that the Danger Assessment tool can assist in assessing battered women who may be at risk of being killed as well as those who are not.
    + View Summary
  • Keeping Women Alive - Assessing the Danger | PDF PDF (96 p.)
    by Kathleen Cairns and Irene Hoffart for the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (June 2009)
    This report shares results of an action based research project on Danger Assessment useage in nine Alberta shelters over a two year period. Fourteen (14) practice-focused recommendations are provided in this report.
    + View Summary

2. DVSI-R
Intended field: criminal justice
Perspective: offender
Assesses: reoffense/reassault

  • Empirically Examining the Risk of Intimate Partner Violence: The Revised Domestic Violence Screening Instrument (DVSI-R) | PDF PDF (9 p.)
    by Kirk R. Williams & Stephen R. Grant, Public Health Reports [Volume 121, Issue 4] (July/August 2006)
    This report shares findings that support the concurrent and predictive validity of the DVSI-R and show that it is robust in its applicability. The findings further show that incidents involving multiple victims are highly associated with DVSI-R risk scores and recidivistic violence.
    + View Summary
  • The Family Violence Risk Assessment Project and its Domestic Violence Screening Instrument (DVSI-R) | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch (2006)
    This Sanctions Update focuses on the DVSI-R: what it is, how it is used in the courts, how it benefits system players and victims, and what the next steps are for refining it even further.
    + View Summary
  • Validation Study of the Domestic Violence Screening Instrument (DVSI) | PDF PDF ( p.)
    by John Hisashima, Interagency Council on Intermediate Sanctions (January 2008)
    This report contains analyses of the Domestic Violence Screening Instrument (DVSI), indicating that the instrument is accurately classifying offenders based on risk.
    + View Summary

3. MOSAIC THREAT ASSESSMENT SYSTEMS
Intended field: criminal justice
Perspective: victim
Assesses: lethality risk

  • MOSAIC Threat Assessment Systems | HTML HTML
    by Gavin de Becker
    MOSAIC is a risk assessment tool that helps the assessor weigh the present situation in light of expert opinion and research, and instantly compare the present situation to past cases where the outcomes are known.
    + View Summary
  • Major Federal Research Project Studies Domestic Violence Assessment | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Mosaic Method
    Describes findings from the U.S. DOJ’s “Intimate Partner Violence Risk Assessment Validation,” specifically related to the MOSAIC threat assessment.
    + View Summary

4. ODARA (Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment) & DVRAG (Domestic Violence Risk Appraisal Guide)
Intended field: criminal justice & forensic clinicians
Perspective: offender
Assesses: reoffense/reassault

  • The Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) & Domestic Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (DVRAG) | PDF PDF (3 p.)
    from the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care<
    These tools comprise a coherent actuarial system to assesses how likely a man is to assault his partner again, and how his risk compares with that of other abusers.
    + View Summary

5. SARA (Spousal Assault Risk Assessment) & B-SAFER
Intended field: criminal justice
Perspective: offender
Assesses: reoffense/reasasult

  • Spousal Assault Risk Assessment Guide: Assessment of the likelihood of domestic violence | PDF PDF (4 p.)
    by P. Randall Kropp, Ph.D., Stephen D. Hart, Ph.D., Christopher D. Webster, Ph.D., & Derek Eaves, M.B. (1999)
    This brochure describes the Spousal Assault Risk Assessment Guide (SARA) and its ability to help determine the degree to which an individual poses a domestic violence threat to his/her partner, children, another family member, or another person involved.
    + View Summary

6. DASH (Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment and Honour Based Violence) & RIC (Risk Identification Checklist)
Intended field: advocates/human service professionals
Perspective: victim
Assesses: lethality risk

  • Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment and Honour Based Violence (DASH, 2009) Risk Identification and Assessment and Management Model | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by Laura Richards for Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA) (2009)
    This document describes the DASH risk assessment tool that was designed for practitioners who work with victims of domestic abuse in the UK in order to help them identify those who are at high risk of harm.
    + View Summary
  • CAADA Domestic Abuse, Stalking and 'Honour'-based Violence (DASH) Risk Identification Checklist | HTML HTML
    by Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA) (2009)
    This checklist is a consistent and simple to use tool for practitioners who work with victims of domestic abuse in order to help them identify those who are at high risk of harm and whose cases should be referred to a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) meeting in order to manage the risk.
    + View Summary
High Lethality Risk Factors: Firearms & Strangulation

A study of the Danger Assessment tool revealed that women who were threatened or assaulted with a gun or other weapon were twenty (20) times more likely than other women to be murdered (Campbell et al., 2003b). In an earlier study, Saltzman et al. (1992) found that "Family and intimate assaults involving firearms are twelve (12) times more likely to result in death than non-firearm-related assaults".

  • The Facts on Guns and Domestic Violence | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Futures Without Violence
    This brief fact sheet provides statistics related to the lethal combination of guns and domestic violence - injuring and killing women every day in the United States.
    + View Summary
  • Domestic Violence and Firearms | PDF PDF (17 p.)
    by Legal Community Against Violence (2009)
    This publication includes comprehensive background information, a summary of relevant federal law, and a thorough description of state laws that exceed the federal standard regarding domestic violence related firearms prohibitions.
    + View Summary
  • Domestic Violence and Firearms: An Advocates Guide | PDF PDF (11 p.)
    by The Illinois Family Violence Coordinating Councils, Firearms and Domestic Violence Project (2008)
    This guide provides advocates with an overview of the increased risk of lethality when firearms are present in cases of domestic violence, a discussion of both federal and Illinois state laws related to firearm possession, and the role of the advocate in addressing firearms when working with survivors of domestic violence.
    + View Summary
  • Domestic Violence and Firearms: A Deadly Combination | PDF PDF (7 p.)
    by John Wilkinson and Toolsi Gowin Meisner, Strategies Issue #3, Aequitas (March 2011)
    This guide for prosecutors offers recommendations for the effective prosecution of cases of domestic violence involving firearms, with the goal of disarming dangerous individuals and holding violent offenders accountable, thereby greatly enhancing victim safety.
    + View Summary
  • Firearms and Domestic Violence: A Primer for Judges | PDF PDF (12 p.)
    by Darren Mitchell and Susan B. Carbon, Court Review, US Department of Justice (Summer 2002)
    This article provides an overview of related research, judicial response, applicable laws, and effective judicial practice in response to the deadly combination of firearms and domestic violence.
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  • Enforcing Domestic Violence Firearm Prohibitions: A Report on Promising Practices | PDF PDF (116 p.)
    by Andrew R. Klein for the Office on Violence Against Women, National Center on Full Faith and Credit (September 2006)
    This report highlights promising practices that represent innovative approaches to enforcing domestic violence firearm prohibitions. It provides brief descriptions of programs that are located primarily in law enforcement agencies, prosecutors' offices, courts, and probation departments.
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  • Model Law Enforcement Policy: Serving and Enforcing Protection Orders & Seizing Firearms in Domestic Violence Cases | PDF PDF (26 p.)
    by Mary Malefyt Seighman and David R. Thomas for the National Center on Full Faith and Credit (October 2005)
    The purpose of the Model Law Enforcement Policy is to provide policies and standard operating procedures for four specific areas that may be encountered by a law enforcement agency. This resource is specific to the seizure of firearms from persons who are prohibited from possessing firearms pursuant to a protection order.
    + View Summary
  • A Deadly Myth: Women, Handguns, and Self-Defense | HTML HTML
    by Karen Brock for the Violence Policy Center (VPC) (January 2001)
    Analyzing FBI data, this study reports that a woman is far more likely to be the victim of a handgun homicide than to use a handgun in a justifiable homicide.
    + View Summary

“Strangulation is one of the most lethal forms of violence used by men against their female intimate partners, and is a significant risk factor for attempted or completed homicide of women by their male intimates. In a study of 57 women who were killed by a male partner during 1995-1996 in Chicago, 53% of the victims had experienced strangulation in the preceding year and 18% of the victims had been killed by strangulation" (Block et al., 2000).

The Family Justice Center Alliance provides training on the handling of strangulation cases for every domestic violence and sexual assault professional, and offer a training DVD entitled Strangulation: What We Have Learned that features national experts on the subject of strangulation from detection through prosecution of strangulation cases.

  • Facts About Intimate Partner Strangulation | PDF PDF ( p.)
    by the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (2009)
    This brief fact sheet includes basic information prepared by the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, a state that pioneered the prosecution of felony strangulation cases.
    + View Summary
  • Strangulation Assaults in Domestic Violence Cases | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Ortner-Unity, The Center on Family Violence of Penn Social Policy & Practice (2008)
    This comprehensive fact sheet includes basic information on strangulation in domestic violence cases, including many cited research studies substantiating the role of strangulation as a risk factor for homicide in intimate partner violence.
    + View Summary
  • OPDV Bulletin: Strangulation in Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault | HTML HTML
    by Gael Strack and George McClane for the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
    This article presents an overview of the risks posed by strangulation attempts in domestic violence cases, and is adapted from a portion of a presentation from the three-day conference, "Detection and Prosecution of Strangulation in Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Cases.”
    + View Summary
  • How to Improve Your Investigation and Prosecution of Strangulation Cases | PDF PDF (18 p.)
    by Gael B. Strack for the National Family Justice Center Alliance (Updated September 2007)
    This paper highlights results of a study examining 300 strangulation cases, 89% of which involved domestic violence. It provides an overview of the issue from a medical perspective, and then offers practical tips for law enforcement officers and prosecutors in effectively addressing these cases.
    + View Summary
  • Strangulation Matrix | PDF PDF (31 p.)
    by the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse & The Battered Women’s Justice Project (Updated 2008)
    This chart is a compilation of the strangulation laws in the United States.
    + View Summary
  • The Impact of Minnesota's Felony Strangulation Law | PDF PDF (38 p.)
    by Heather Wolfgram, WATCH (January 2007)
    This groundbreaking study provides key insights into the implementation and outcomes of Minnesota’s felony strangulation law, including discussion of obstacles and recommendations for changes in the handling of strangulation cases.
    + View Summary

Fatality Review | Back to top

“The fatality review process is a critical component in helping communities understand the events that may have led to a domestic violence homicide, and ultimately to determine how to prevent such homicides” (FCADV, 2009).
“Like the reviews conducted after an airplane crash, a fatality review helps determine what went wrong and what could have been done differently to prevent the tragedy” (Websdale, 2003).

This section provides information on fatality reviews, a tool increasingly being used by advocates and practitioners to examine the barriers to safety, justice, and self determination that victims face, identify the gaps in our community response to domestic violence, and advocate for change so that intimate partner homicide can ultimately be prevented. This section is divided into three sub-sections: Approaches and Recommendations for Fatality Review, Sample Fatality Review Reports, and Using Fatality Review Reports in Our Work. For additional information and technical assistance on fatality review, please visit the website of the National Domestic Violence Fatality Review Initiative (NDVFRI). The mission of NDVFRI is “to provide technical assistance for the reviewing of domestic violence related deaths with the underlying objectives of preventing them in the future, preserving the safety of battered women, and holding accountable both the perpetrators of domestic violence and the multiple agencies and organizations that come into contact with the parties.” This website provides state-by-state information, reports, and a variety of other publications to support initiatives related to fatality review.

Approaches and Recommendations for Fatality Review
There are a variety of fatality review models or processes currently in place across the country. Despite the variations, however, “there is very little research strongly supporting one approach over another in terms of which review is most effective or comprehensive” (Chard-Wierschem & Mackey, 2006).
  • Reviewing Domestic Violence Deaths | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by Neil Websdale for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (November 2003)
    This documents provides an overview of fatality review, highlighting how this tool may help reduce intimate partner homicide.
    + View Summary
  • Domestic Fatality Review Boards | HTML HTML
    by Stop Violence Against Women/The Advocates for Human Rights (November 2006)
    This brief document provides information on starting a fatality review process, case review process, and reporting.
    + View Summary
  • Domestic Violence Serious Incident/Fatality Reviews in New York State | PDF PDF (20 p.)
    by Deborah J. Chard-Wierschem, PhD and Melissa I. Mackey, MA for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, Bureau of Justice Research and Innovation (October 2006)
    This report examines the extent to which local level domestic violence serious incident and fatality reviews exist in New York State. Findings from this research provide a basis from which policy makers can explore new review initiatives.
    + View Summary
  • The Faces of Fatality: Overview, Findings and Recommendations of the Florida Attorney General’s Statewide Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team | PDF PDF (24 p.)
    by Florida’s Statewide Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) (January 2011)
    This document presents a project report and recommendations from the Florida’s statewide fatality review team.
    + View Summary
  • Up to Us: Lessons learned and goals for change after thirteen years of the Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review | PDF PDF (52 p.)
    by Jake Fawcett for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) (December 2010)
    This sixth and final biennial report draws on the lessons learned by the Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review (DVFR) after more than a decade of analysis and community conversation, and it sets out eleven goals for change.
    + View Summary
  • Homicide at Home | PDF PDF (147 p.)
    by Margaret Hobart for The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) (1998)
    This document describes the Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review model and the rationale behind it.
    + View Summary
  • Advocates and Fatality Reviews | PDF PDF (22 p.)
    by Margaret Hobart for The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) (June 2004)
    This document describes the “System Analysis” approach. “This approach avoids blaming individuals and instead focuses on the analysis of systems and institutions with the goal of creating lasting changes.”
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  • Suggested Guidelines for Advocates Participating in Domestic Violence Fatality Reviews | PDF PDF (22 p.)
    by Margaret Hobart for The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) (March 2005)
    This document provides several basic guidelines for advocate participation in fatality reviews.
    + View Summary
  • Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams: A Replication Manual | PDF PDF (201 p.)
    by Lori A. Stiegel, American Bar Association (2005)
    This manual emphasizes the need for a multidisciplinary Elder Abuse Fatality Review Team (EA-FRT), discusses various issues and challenges that EA-FRT may face, and presents suggestions for addressing these challenges.
    + View Summary
  • Domestic Violence Fatality Review in Indian Country | PDF PDF (12 p.)
    by Matthew Dale for the Fatality Review Bulletin / National Domestic Violence Fatality Review Initiative (NDVFRI) (Spring 2010)
    This article, which begins on page 8 of the NDVFRI’s Fatality Review Bulletin, provides information on conducting fatality reviews with American Indian tribes in Montana.
    + View Summary
  • Telling Amy’s Story | Video
    by Penn State Public Broadcasting (November 2010)
    This is the 15 minute version of a full-length film that follows the timeline of a domestic violence homicide that occurred in central Pennsylvania on November 8, 2001. This story illustrates the importance of the fatality review process in the prevention of intimate partner homicide.
    + View Summary
Sample Fatality Review Reports
This section provides a variety of sample fatality reports from different states across the country. This list is provided as a starting point and is not comprehensive or exhaustive. Additional reports can be found through the website of the National Domestic Violence Fatality Review Initiative (NDVFRI).

ARIZONA

  • Arizona Domestic Violence Fatality Report 2010 | PDF PDF (30 p.)
    by the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence (AZCADV)
    This report examines the fatalities that occurred in Arizona from January 1 – December 31, 2010, including intimate partner homicides, homicides perpetrated by family members, suicides related to incidents of domestic violence, and perpetrators killed by law enforcement when they respond to a domestic violence call.
    + View Summary

FLORIDA

  • The Faces of Fatality: Overview, Findings and Recommendations of the Florida Attorney General’s Statewide Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team | PDF PDF (24 p.)
    by Florida’s Statewide Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) (January 2011)
    This document presents a project report and recommendations from the Florida’s statewide fatality review team.
    + View Summary

GEORGIA

  • 2010 Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Annual Report | PDF PDF (48 p.)
    by The Georgia Commission on Family Violence (GCFV) and the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADV) (2011)
    This report provides data findings and recommendations from community reviews of domestic violence homicides in Georgia.
    + View Summary

LOUISIANA

  • The Killing Must Stop: Death at the Hands of the Person You Love - Findings and Recommendations of the Louisiana Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project | PDF PDF (40 p.)
    by Kami E. Geoffray for the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) (June 2010)
    This report presents the findings from a Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project (DVFR) that has been underway since 2005 in the state of Louisiana.
    + View Summary

MARYLAND

  • Taking a Closer Look: Domestic Violence Fatality Review Statewide Report | PDF PDF (44 p.)
    by Fatima N. Burns, edited by Michaele Cohen, Karen Hartz, and Dave Sargent for the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV) (2009)
    This document is Maryland's first statewide report on domestic violence fatality review.
    + View Summary

WASHINGTON STATE

  • Up to Us: Lessons learned and goals for change after thirteen years of the Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review | PDF PDF (52 p.)
    by Jake Fawcett for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) (December 2010)
    This sixth and final biennial report draws on the lessons learned by the Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review (DVFR) after more than a decade of analysis and community conversation, and it sets out eleven goals for change.
    + View Summary
Using Fatality Review Reports in Our Work
Materials in this section provide information about creative ways in which advocates can effectively use fatality review reports in order to raise community awareness of domestic violence and mobilize social change.
  • Fatality Review Reports: Innovative Advocates Use the Reports | PDF PDF (5 p.)
    by Leigh Hofheimer for The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) (July 2008)
    This document provides practical examples of how advocates have used fatality review reports to raise awareness of domestic violence and mobilize change in their communities.
    + View Summary
  • Webinar - Now That We Know: How to Use the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Report to Mobilize Change | Video
    by The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) (February 2009)
    This is a 2-hour webinar presenting the findings and recommendations from the 2008 report “Now That We Know” by the Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review.
    + View Summary
  • Up to Us: Lessons learned and goals for change after thirteen years of the Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review | PDF PDF (52 p.)
    by Jake Fawcett for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) (December 2010)
    This sixth and final biennial report draws on the lessons learned by the Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review (DVFR) after more than a decade of analysis and community conversation, and it sets out eleven goals for change.
    + View Summary

Systems Response & Opportunities for Prevention | Back to top

“The depiction of intimate partner murder as a shocking and unexpected family tragedy overlooks the preventable nature of many of these deaths and absolves the community of its responsibility for developing ways to better intervene in potentially violent and lethal relationships” (Fukuroda, 2005).

Coordinated Community Response

A coordinated community response involves police, prosecutors, probation officers, battered women's advocates, counselors, and judges in developing and implementing polices and procedures that improve interagency coordination and lead to more uniform responses to domestic violence cases. * For more information, see VAWnet's resources on Coordinated Community Response.

The Murder at Home Project is a groundbreaking effort of the California Women's Law Center to transform criminal justice, community and media responses to intimate murder and intimate violence to ensure that these crimes are taken seriously and addressed appropriately. Their report below is one resource that addresses a broad community-level response to domestic violence homicide.

  • Murder at Home: An Examination of Legal and Community Responses to Intimate Femicide in California | PDF PDF (335 p.)
    by Marci L. Fukuroda for the California Women’s Law Center (October 2005)
    This report is a comprehensive assessment of how different systems work together, and separately, to address domestic violence and domestic violence murder in California.
    + View Summary
  • Domestic Violence Safety & Accountability Audit | PDF PDF (3 p.)
    by Praxis International
    The Safety Audit is tool used by interdisciplinary groups and domestic violence advocacy organizations to further their common goals of enhancing safety and ensuring accountability when intervening in cases involving intimate partner violence.
    + View Summary
  • How Can Practitioners Help an Abused Woman Lower Her Risk of Death? | PDF PDF (4 p.)
    by Carolyn Rebecca Block for the National Institute of Justice (2003)
    This article presents key findings from the Chicago Women’s Health Study about domestic violence, its effects, and women's responses to violence.
    + View Summary
  • Telling Amy’s Story | Video
    by Penn State Public Broadcasting (November 2010)
    This is the 15 minute version of a full-length film that follows the timeline of a domestic violence homicide that occurred in central Pennsylvania on November 8, 2001. This story illustrates the importance of the fatality review process in the prevention of intimate partner homicide.
    + View Summary
Health Care
* See the related Special Collections: Domestic Violence and Health Care & Traumatic Brain Injury and Domestic Violence: Understanding the Intersections
  • The National Consensus Guidelines on Identifying and Responding to Domestic Violence Victimization in Health Care Settings, Second Edition | PDF PDF (98 p.)
    by The National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence of Futures Without Violence (Revised February 2004)
    The guidelines are designed to assist health care providers from multiple settings and in various professional disciplines in addressing domestic violence victimization, including assessment, documentation, intervention and referral information.
    + View Summary
  • Domestic Violence and Health Care Protocols | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    from Futures Without Violence
    These selected model protocols from various health care settings across the US provide a blueprint for responding effectively and efficiently to patients experiencing domestic violence.
    + View Summary
  • Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence Victimization Assessment Instruments for Use in Healthcare Settings, Version 1.0 | PDF PDF (114 p.)
    by Kathleen C. Basile, Marci Hertz, and Sudie Black, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2007)
    This compilation provides practitioners and clinicians with an inventory of existing assessment tools for determining intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence victimization in clinical/healthcare settings.
    + View Summary
  • Intimate Partner Violence: Development of a Brief Risk Assessment for the Emergency Department | PDF PDF (9 p.)
    by Carolyn Snider, Daniel Webster, Chris S. O’Sullivan, and Jacquelyn Campbell, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine [Vol. 16, No. 11] (November 2009)
    The objective of this study was to use data from a larger study of domestic violence risk assessment methods to develop a brief assessment for acute care settings to identify victims at highest risk for suffering severe injury or potentially lethal assault by an intimate partner or former partner.
    + View Summary
First Responders

“It is often difficult to know for sure if cases of intimate killing are preceded by domestic violence. At times police do not log their calls to domestic-violence incidents. Recent research suggests that roughly half of intimate-partner violence is reported to the police" (Websdale, 1999). It is critically important that first responders accurately record the details of incidents related to domestic violence so that future threats can be identified and addressed.

  • Lethality Assessment Program Maryland Model For First Responders: Learning to read the danger signs | PDF PDF (19 p.)
    by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (2005)
    The LAP is a two-pronged intervention process that features a research-based lethality screening tool and an accompanying protocol referral that provides direction for officers to initiate appropriate action based on the results of the screening process.
    + View Summary
  • Working Effectively with the Police: A Guide for Battered Women’s Advocates | PDF PDF (20 p.)
    by Jane Sadusky for the Battered Women’s Justice Project (Revised August 2001)
    This article highlights information advocates need in order to work collaboratively and effectively with police officers and other law enforcement personnel. The author discusses the changes police officers have made regarding when and how they arrest, investigate, write reports, and how they work with and support prosecutors and victim advocates.
    + View Summary
  • Community Policing and Domestic Violence: Five Promising Practices | PDF PDF (125 p.)
    by Jane Sadusky for the Battered Women’s Justice Project (October 2003)
    This document provides a discussion of how community policing principles might intersect with the core principles of domestic violence organizing: victim safety, offender accountability, and community change.
    + View Summary
  • Guidelines for the Role of EMS Personnel in Domestic Violence | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by the American College of Emergency Physicians (March 2000)
    This statement provides guidelines for EMS personnel around the recognition, victim care, scene safety, documentation, and reporting of cases that are suspected to involve domestic violence.
    + View Summary
  • Improving EMS Response to Domestic Violence | PDF PDF (38 p.)
    by Patricia E. Ousley for Maine.gov (October 2001)
    This PowerPoint presentation describes how EMS responders to domestic violence can achieve: increased sensitivity and understanding of domestic violence; more referrals to domestic violence projects; and quality information and documentation for the criminal justice system.
    + View Summary
  • First Response to Victims of Crime: A Guidebook for Law Enforcement Officers | PDF PDF (97 p.)
    by Timothy O. Woods of the National Sheriffs’ Association for the Office for Victims of Crime (April 2008)
    This guide book offers user-friendly information for law enforcement on how to respond to a wide range of victims. It attempts to highlight the most salient issues involved for victims of certain crimes and for certain populations of victims.
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  • A Balanced Collaboration: Vermont's Protocol for Law Enforcement Response to Children | PDF PDF (16 p.)
    by Jane M. Sadusky for the The Battered Women’s Justice Project (June 2004)
    This paper provides a starting point for other communities to explore their own response to children at domestic violence incidents, as well as an approach that can be used to examine other aspects of intervention.
    + View Summary
  • Victims with Disabilities: Collaborative Multidisciplinary First Response, Techniques for First Responders Called to Help Crime Victims who Have Disabilities | PDF PDF (70 p.)
    by the Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (2009)
    This trainer’s guide is designed to demonstrate effective techniques for first responders called to help crime victims who have disabilities that affect the victim’s intellectual and communication abilities.
    + View Summary
Workplace
For more information and resources about the role of the workplace in responding to domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence and stalking visit The Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence: A National Resource Center.

Telling Amy’s Story is a film that follows the timeline of a domestic violence homicide that occurred on November 8, 2001. This story illustrates the important role that employers and coworkers can play in promoting safety for victims of domestic violence.

  • Trends in Workplace Homicides in the U.S., 1993–2002: A Decade of Decline | PDF PDF (10 p.)
    by Scott A. Hendricks, E. Lynn Jenkins, and Kristi R. Anderson for the American Journal of Industrial Medicine (2007)
    This study found that type IV workplace homicides -- that is, those involving a personal relationship between the worker and the offender -- had actually declined significantly less than overall workplace homicides and declined the least of the four types.
    + View Summary
  • Occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among women | PDF PDF (31 p.)
    by Anne B. Hoskins for the Monthly Labor Review (October 2005)
    Findings indicate that homicide was the leading source of fatal workplace injuries for women, and that female murder victims were much more likely to have been killed by a family member than were male victims.
    + View Summary
  • Domestic Violence and Occupational Homicides | PDF PDF (20 p.)
    by Terry Bunn, Travis Fritsch, and Sergey Tarima for the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (August 2007)
    This presentation describes the results of a CDC-funded project (1999-2005) to quantify the magnitude of IPV in females in Kentucky, characterize its nature, and measure health and mental health outcome.
    + View Summary
  • Model Workplace Policy On Employer Responses to Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking | HTML HTML PDF PDF (5 p.)
    by The Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence: A National Resource Center (2009)
    This model policy outlines guidelines for workplace responses to victims/survivors of violence and perpetrators of violence. An employer can adopt a workplace policy as part of its commitment to a healthy, safe organizational climate and to the prevention and reduction of the incidence and effects of domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking.
    + View Summary
  • Safety and Security Concerns | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by The Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence: A National Resource Center (2009)
    There are some smart, strategic solutions to the risks of domestic and sexual violence at work. This page offers four sections detailing ideas for strengthening an employer’s overall workplace violence prevention procedures to deal with domestic and sexual violence threats.
    + View Summary
Legal/Criminal Justice
For more information about promising practices of the criminal and civil justice systems in addressing domestic violence, please visit The Battered Women's Justice Project, which offers training, technical assistance, and consultation. Their National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith and Credit provides technical assistance on all issues related to the issuance and enforcement of protection orders across jurisdictional boundaries.
  • Effective Interventions in Domestic Violence Cases: Context is Everything | PDF PDF (5 p.)
    by Loretta Frederick for The Battered Women’s Justice Project (May 2001)
    In order to ensure that criminal justice system interventions are effective in holding offenders accountable and protecting victims from harm, the context in which each act of domestic violence occurs must be understood.
    + View Summary
  • Civil Protective Orders Effective in Stopping or Reducing Partner Violence: Challenges remain in rural areas with access and enforcement | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by TK Logan and Robert Walker for The Carsey institute, University of New Hampshire (Spring 2011)
    The results of this study show clearly that civil protective orders are an effective intervention in addressing partner violence. For approximately half the women, all it took to stop the violence was a protective order. For the other half, the violence and abuse was significantly reduced.
    + View Summary
  • The Kentucky Civil Protective Order Study: A Rural and Urban Multiple Perspective Study of Protective Order Violation Consequences, Responses, & Costs | PDF PDF (183 p.)
    by TK Logan, Robert Walker, William Hoyt, and Teri Faragher for the U.S. Department of Justice (September 2009)
    This study addresses several gaps in the research literature on civil protective orders by examining protective order effectiveness, enforcement, and cost effectiveness.
    + View Summary
  • Model Law Enforcement Policy: Serving and Enforcing Protection Orders & Seizing Firearms in Domestic Violence Cases | PDF PDF (26 p.)
    by Mary Malefyt Seighman and David R. Thomas for the National Center on Full Faith and Credit (October 2005)
    The purpose of the Model Law Enforcement Policy is to provide policies and standard operating procedures for four specific areas that may be encountered by a law enforcement agency. This resource is specific to the seizure of firearms from persons who are prohibited from possessing firearms pursuant to a protection order.
    + View Summary
  • Domestic Violence and Probation | PDF PDF (27 p.)
    by Fernando Mederos for the The Battered Women’s Justice Project
    This article offers specialized management techniques that probation officers can use to monitor batterers and intervene in domestic violence cases more effectively. The author offers suggestions on how to manage offenders on probation, respond to common excuses, and handle those offenders least likely to be held accountable.
    + View Summary

Media & Community Response | Back to top

By providing accurate coverage of intimate partner homicides and avoiding sources, questions and language that perpetuate myths, the media can play an important role in helping the community understand “how domestic violence can go unchecked to the point of murder” (Starr, 2008, p. 1). Because the public gets the majority of its information about the world from the media, it is crucial that advocates work with the media to reach their goal of educating the public about domestic violence (Cuscino & Shea, 1999).

  • Covering Domestic Violence: A Guide for Journalists and Other Media Professionals | PDF PDF (31 p.)
    by Kelly Starr for The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) (January 2008)
    This guide is designed to assist journalists in accurately covering domestic violence homicides and other related stories.
    + View Summary
  • Handbook for Journalists | PDF PDF
    by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV)
    The goal of this handbook is for reporters to see a murder or other crime involving intimate partners through the lens of domestic violence.
    + View Summary
  • Media Outreach Made Easy: An Advocate's Guide to Working With the Press | PDF PDF (24 p.)
    by Vicki Cuscino and Pam Shea (1999)
    This document provides basic information on the many ways to use the media to disseminate messages about domestic violence to the American public. A set of sample media materials is included.
    + View Summary
  • Domestic Violence Awareness: Action for Social Change - Part II: Organizing and Communications | PDF PDF (113 p.)
    by the Domestic Violence Awareness Project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) (2009)
    This second installment of the Action for Social Change manual intends to generate critical thinking and enhance dialogue regarding community organizing and partnerships, communications and engaging the media.
    + View Summary
  • Instigate! An Online Toolkit for Community Mobilization | HTML HTML
    by Transforming Communities: Technical Assistance, Training & Resource Center (TC-TAT) (2001)
    Provides tips, tools and exercises to guide the development of a Community Action Team in your neighborhood, city, faith-based group, school or place of employment. Designed primarily for use by domestic violence and public health organizations.
    + View Summary

Grief & Trauma | Back to top

"Children are present and witness the murder of victims in 25% of femicide" (Doyne, Bowermaster, & Meloy, 1999).

In the event of intimate partner homicide or homicide/suicide, it is inevitable that the loved ones of both the victim and the perpetrator will experience intense and complex feelings of grief and loss. It is critical that domestic violence advocates recognize the importance of reaching out to families of homicide victims to offer support and/or provide referrals to appropriate services. Children of homicide victims may experience a variety of complex and often conflicting emotions when it comes to the murder of their parent and their relationship with the perpetrator. It is important to provide a sense of security and consistency to children who experience such trauma, and to offer long-term support and advocacy on their behalf.

The Purple Ribbon Council exists "to help bring hope, healing, and happiness to children who have lost a parent or both parents to domestic violence homicide." Their Purple Ribbon Fund for Children brings hope, healing and happiness to children of domestic violence homicide.
*See also The Butterfly Club, peer-guided Brooklyn, New York based program for children orphaned by domestic homicide and a support group for their guardians.
The Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families, is dedicated to grieving children and families, supporting them in their journey toward hope after a loved one dies. HOPE the Butterfly was created as an awareness symbol to spread a message of hope to grieving children across the world that “it won’t always hurt so bad.” blue hope butterfly

For additional resources on grief and loss, please visit the National Alliance for Grieving Children, The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, GriefNet.org, or Caring Connections, a project of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

  • Guide to Survival for Family and Friends of Homicide Victims | PDF PDF (5 p.)
    by the Montana Department of Justice
    This resource provides an overview of the most common feelings of grief and offers tips for coping with the reactions of others, coping with holidays, and coping with the criminal justice system.
    + View Summary
  • When an Abuser/Perpetrator Dies | HTML HTML
    by National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (2003)
    Information about feelings and issues that may arise when an abuser or perpetrator dies. A struggle anyone may face is how to make sense or meaning of the death of a person you knew, cared about, or even loved.
    + View Summary
  • Young Children and Grief | HTML HTML
    by The Dougy Center: The National Center for Grieving Children and Families
    This resource describes common aspects of the grieving and mourning process for young children, and common feelings that a young child may experience as part of that process.
    + View Summary
  • How to Help a Grieving Child | HTML HTML
    by The Dougy Center: The National Center for Grieving Children and Families
    This resource describes lessons from the book 35 Ways to Help a Grieving Child.
    + View Summary

 

Bibliography | Back to top

The selected articles and books provided below helped inform the development of this collection and serve as resources to expand readers' knowledge base on this issue.

Block, C. R., Devitt, C. O., Fonda, D., Fugate, M., Martin, C., McFarlane, J., et al. (2000). The Chicago Women’s Health Study: Risk of serious injury or death in intimate violence: A collaborative research project. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.

Campbell, J.C., Webster, D.W., & Glass, N. (2009, April). The Danger Assessment: Validation of a Lethality Risk Assessment Instrument for Intimate Partner Femicide. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24(4), 653-674.*

Campbell, J.C., Glass, N., Sharps, P.W., Laughon, K., & Bloom, T. (2007, July). Intimate Partner Homicide: Review and Implications of Research and Policy. Trauma, Violence and Abuse, 8, 246-269.

Campbell, J.C. et al. (2003, July). Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results From a Multisite Case Control Study. American Journal of Public Health, 93(7), 1089-1097.

Campbell, J.C. et al. (2003, November). Assessing Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Homicide. National Institute of Justice. [NIJ Journal - ISSUE NO. 250]

Doyne, S., Bowermaster, J. & Meloy, R. (1999). Custody disputes involving domestic violence: Making children’s needs a priority. Juvenile & Family Court Journal, 50(2).

Dugan, L., Rosenfeld, R., & Nagin, D. S. (2003). Exposure reduction or retaliation? The effects of domestic violence resources on intimate-partner homicide. Law & Society Review, 37(1), 169-198.

Koziol-McLain, J., Webster, D., McFarlane, J., Block, C. R., Ulrich, Y., Glass, N., & Campbell, J.C. (2006, February). Risk factors for femicide-suicide in abusive relationships: Results from a multisite case control study. Violence and Victims, 21(1), 3-21.

Lewandowski, L., McFarlane, J., Campbell, J.C., Gary, F. & Barenski, C. (2004, August). “He Killed My Mommy!” Murder or attempted murder of a child’s mother. Journal of Family Violence, 19(4), 211-220.

McFarlane, J., Campbell, J.C., & Watson, K. (2002). Intimate partner stalking and femicide: Urgent implications for women’s safety. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 20, 51-68.

Nicolaidis, C., Curry, M.A., Ulrich, Y., Sharps, P., McFarlane, J., Campbell, D., Gary, F., Laughon, K., Glass, N., & Campbell, J. (2003, October). Could we have known? A qualitative analysis of data from women who survived an attempted homicide by an intimate partner. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 18(10), 788-794.

Roehl J., O’Sullivan C., Webster, D., Campbell, J. (May 2005). Intimate Partner Violence Risk Assessment Validation Study, Final Report. Doc. No. 209731. Washington, D.C.: Department of Justice.

Sharps, P.W., Koziol-McLain, J., Campbell, J., McFarlane, J. Sachs, C., & Xu, X. (2001, August). Health care providers’ missed opportunities for preventing femicide. Preventive Medicine 33, 373–380.

Saltzman, L.E., Mercy, J.A., O’Carroll, P.W., Rosenberg, M.L. & Rhodes, P.H. (1992). Weapon Involvement and Injury Outcomes in Family and Intimate Assaults. Journal of the American Medical Association, 3043-47.

Walton-Moss, B. J., Manganello, J., Frye, V., & Campbell, J.C. (2005, October). Risk factors for intimate partner violence and associated injury among urban women. Journal of Community Health, 30(5), 377-389.

Websdale, N. (2010). Familicidal Hearts: The Emotional Styles of 211 Killers. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Websdale, N. (2000, February). Lethality Assessment Tools: A critical analysis. Harrisburg, PA: VAWnet, a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. Available at http://www.vawnet.org/Assoc_Files_VAWnet/AR_lethality.pdf

Websdale, N. (1999). Understanding Domestic Homicide. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press.

* See also: Danger Assessment Reference List