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Gender-Specific Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Homicide - A Nationwide Register-Based Study

Ghitta Weizmann-Henelius, Matti Grönroos, Hanna Putkonen, Markku Eronen, Nina Lindberg, and Helinä Häkkänen-Nyholm.


Journal of Interpersonal Violence. May 2012 vol. 27 no. 8; 1519-1539.



The present study examined gender differences in intimate partner homicide (IPH) and offender characteristics with the focus on putative gender-specific risk factors in a nationwide consecutive sample of homicide offenders. Data on all offenders (N = 642; 91 females, 551 males) convicted of homicide and subjected to a forensic psychiatric examination in Finland were obtained for the years 1995 and 2004. IPH offenders, 39 female and 106 male, were compared for risk factors with female and male offenders whose victims were not spouses. The forensic psychiatric examination reports were retrospectively analyzed, and the  Hare Psychopathy Checklist–Revised (PCL-R) was rated. Significant gender differences were found in four risk factors: employment, intoxication of victim, self-defense, and quarrel, mostly related to alcohol as a factor of the offense. The findings support the notion that female IPH is linked to defensive reactions resulting from prior abuse, and that IPH offenders resemble the general population more than offenders of other types of homicide.



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