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Chicago Women's Health Risk Study at a Glance

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2000
12 pages
A study conducted in Chicago starting in 1997 compared longitudinal data on abused women with similar data on women who had been killed or who killed an intimate partner to determine the factors indicating significant danger of life-threatening injury or death in situations in which an intimate partner is physically abusing a woman.
The research involved domestic assault screening of 2,616 women as they came into a hospital or health care clinic for any kind of treatment, followed by interviews of 705 women, and the compilation of a study sample consisting of 497 women who had experienced violence in the past year and a comparison group of 208 women who had not. The homicide sample included all of the 87 intimate partner homicides in 1995 or 1996 with a female victim or female offender age 18 or older. Results revealed combinations of factors that indicated that a woman in an abusive situation was at high risk for serious injury or death. Both potential gains and potential risks existed for women who left or tried to end an abusive relationship. Findings indicated that assessments of the risk for lethal violence should determine when the last incident happened, avoid rating risk by a single incident, be aware of abused women at risk for becoming homicide offenders, and give attention to women at risk for a first, explosive incident. Findings also suggested that medical and law-enforcement staff should be aware of both risks and gains of help-seeking and should take advantage of opportunities to ask women if they want information about sources of help. Further research should recognize the complexity of women’s lives, develop a collaborative culture, and include strangulation as a method of violence recorded in data sets. Lists of collaborating agencies, past reports related to the study, and works in progress

Date Published: June 1, 2000