The Scope of the Problem: Intimate Partner Homicide Statistics

From 1980 to 2008, nearly 1 out of 5 murder victims were killed by an intimate partner (Cooper & Smith, 2011). In fact, 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, 2013Violence Policy Center, 2015). Approximately 2 out of 5 female murder victims are killed by an intimate partner (Cooper & Smith, 2011). In 2013, fifteen (15) times as many females were murdered by a male they knew than were killed by male strangers. For victims who knew their offenders, 62% were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders (Violence Policy Center, 2015). Men can also be victims of intimate partner homicide. In recent years, about 4.9% of male murder victims were killed by an intimate partner (Cooper & Smith, 2011). There is reason to believe that the motivation for 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, community organizing, 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.

"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