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Men Who Murder Their Families: What the Research Tells Us - NIJ Research for the Real World Seminar

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2009
18 pages
This video and its transcript cover panel presentations at the 2009 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Research for the Real World series that address findings and implications of research on men who murder their families.
Jackie Campbell - a professor in Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing - reviews the findings from the National Death Reporting System on 408 incidents of homicide-suicide in 17 States. The perpetrators were mostly White, non-Hispanic males. In 80 percent of these incidents, the perpetrator was a male intimate partner who killed his wife/girlfriend or ex-wife/ex-girlfriend. In 21 of the incidents, someone other than the female partner was killed, usually a child. Risk factors identified were prior domestic violence, perpetrator access to a gun, threats with a weapon, a stepchild in the home, and estrangement of partners. Prior threats of suicide and a history of poor mental health were other risk factors. David Adams - co-founder and co-director of Emerge, a nonprofit organization dedicated to stopping domestic violence - elaborates on a common scenario of male intimate-partner homicides-suicides. He summarizes the profile of these perpetrators as "jealous drunks with guns." He notes the higher rates of intimate-partner homicides in the United States compared with Australia and Great Britain, attributing this largely to the greater accessibility of guns in America. Richard Gelles - the Joanne and Raymond Welsh Chair of Child Welfare and Family Violence in the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania - focuses on some of the broader socioeconomic factors that produce stress and despair within families. This can lead to suicidal urges in male "bread winners" who may transfer their own despair to the family as a whole. This can lead to the perpetration of family "suicide" at the hands of the husband/father.

Date Published: June 1, 2009