To read this content please select one of the options below:

Exploratory comparison between fatal and non-fatal cases of intimate partner violence

Sandy Jung (Department of Psychology, MacEwan University, Edmonton, Canada)
Jayme Stewart (Department of Psychology, MacEwan University, Edmonton, Canada)

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research

ISSN: 1759-6599

Article publication date: 21 March 2019

Issue publication date: 25 June 2019




Much has been written about intimate partner homicide (IPH), but empirical examinations have been less rigorous and mostly descriptive in nature. The purpose of this paper is to provide an exploration of the characteristics of fatal intimate partner violence (IPV) cases.


A direct comparison of fatal IPHs with both a matched sample of non-fatal IPV cases and a random selection of non-fatal IPV cases is made on a number of offence, offender, victim characteristics and risk-relevant variables.


Despite assertions that domestic homicide is different than domestic violence, in general, few notable differences emerged among the groups. Prior domestic incidents differed between the matched fatal and non-fatal cases, where a greater proportion of the homicide perpetrators had a prior domestic incident. Other differences that were found revealed that more non-fatal perpetrators had substance abuse problems, younger victims and been unemployed at the time of the offence. However, differences were minimal when fatal and non-fatal IPV perpetrators were matched on demographic features and criminal history.


This study highlights that there may be few features that distinguish IPH and non-fatal violence. Rather than be distracted with searching for risk factors predictive of fatality, we should evaluate IPV risk using broad-based approaches to determine risk for reoffending and overall severity of reoffending.



The authors express deep appreciation to the Edmonton Police Services for providing the opportunity to conduct this research. The authors thank Katherine Pascoe and Melissa Russo for their research assistance. This research would not be possible without the support from Brian Roberts, Danielle Campbell, Chad Tawfik and Sean Armstrong. The points of view expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of the Edmonton Police Service.


Jung, S. and Stewart, J. (2019), "Exploratory comparison between fatal and non-fatal cases of intimate partner violence", Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 158-168.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles