Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges
Published June 2009
Chapter 1. Overview of Domestic Violence
Section 6 — How widespread is fatal domestic violence?
According to the Supplementary Homicide Reports of the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program in 2005, 1,181 females and 329
males were killed by their intimate partners.  The number of men killed has dropped by almost three-quarters since 1976 whereas the number of women killed has only dropped
by a quarter. The number of white females killed has declined the least — only 6 percent. Intimate partner homicides constituted
11 percent of all homicides between 1976 and 2005, 30 percent of all female murders (1976-2004), and 3 percent of all male
murders (1976-2005). The proportion of female homicide victims killed by an intimate partner is increasing. Unlike nonfatal
domestic violence, most intimate partner homicides (54 percent) involve spouses or ex-spouses, although intimate partner homicides
for unmarried couples are approaching the rate for married or divorced couples.
Intimate partner homicides may also involve third parties, including children, bystanders, employers and lawyers, among others.
For example, according to the Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review, between 1997 and 2004, there were 313 domestic
violence fatality cases in that state involving 416 homicides, including 23 children, 32 friends/family members of primary
intimate partner victims, 19 new boyfriends of primary intimate victims, one co-worker of the primary intimate victim, three
law enforcement officers responding to the intimate partner homicide, 9 abusers killed by law enforcement, and 10 abusers
killed by a friend or family member of victims. Additionally, 93 abusers committed suicide after killing their victim(s).
Implications for Law Enforcement
To reduce female homicides generally, law enforcement must give priority to the protection of female intimate partners. (Research
basis: National data collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.)
Implications for Prosecutors and Judges
To reduce female homicides generally, prosecutors and judges must give priority to the protection of female intimates. Reduction
of female intimate homicides will also reduce collateral homicides of children, other family members, and responding law enforcement
officers as well as reducing abuser suicides. (Research basis: National data collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
and multiple state and local fatality reviews.)
Date Created: June 5, 2009