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Young Adult Intimate Partner Femicide: An Exploratory Study

NCJ Number
Homicide Studies Volume: 12 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2008 Pages: 177-187
Date Published
May 2008
11 pages

This study identified risk factors for young-adult women killed by an intimate partner (femicide), and compared them with risk factors for young-adult women abused but not killed by their partners.


The study found that risk factors for intimate-partner femicide among young-adult women differed from factors associated with an abusive but nonlethal intimate relationship for young-adult women. The distinctive risk variables for intimate-partner femicides were more hostile violence, threats, unemployment, male partner's access to a gun, controlling activities, and having a nonbiological child of the abusive partner. These risk factors were consistent with risk factors identified in cases of femicides among older adult women. Still, partner jealousy, controlling behaviors, partner unemployment, and being an ex-partner had increased importance for young-adult women victims. The authors advise that a validated lethality assessment instrument, such as the Danger Assessment, may be useful in identifying risk factors for homicide among young-adult intimate partners. This exploratory study involved a secondary analysis of data from an 11-city case control study that identified risk factors for intimate partner femicide in abusive relationships (Campbell et al., 2003). Adolescent and young-adult women (16-20 years old) killed by their intimate or ex-intimate partners were identified in the parent study, along with a randomly identified sample of abused young-adult women in the same metropolitan areas. Twenty-eight of the 310 femicide cases met the age criteria for the secondary analysis. Fifty-three of the 427 abused women met the age criteria for the secondary analysis. The Danger Assessment instrument was used in the parent study with proxy informants in order to assess risk factors for femicide victims in the year prior to their murders, as well as to assess risk factors experienced in the prior year by abused controls. 2 tables and 27 references

Date Published: May 1, 2008