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‘If only we’d known’: what a small sample of femicides tells us about responses to domestic violence. Linda Regan 2008. Intimate Partner Violence.

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if only we d known what a small sample of femicides tells us about responses to domestic violence

‘If only we’d known’: what a small sample of femicides tells us about responses to domestic violence

Linda Regan

2008

Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit

intimate partner violence
Intimate Partner Violence

…. A process whereby one member of an intimate relationship experiences vulnerability, loss of power and control and entrapment as a consequence of the other member’s exercise of power through the patterned use of physical, sexual, psychological and/or moral force.

(Coker et al, 2003, p260)

Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit

women killed as a result intimate partner homicide
Women killed as a result Intimate Partner Homicide

Russia: 2-3,00 women per year

USA: 1,400 women per year

South Africa: 1,400 per year

Australia: 77 women per year

Israel: 15 women per year

England and Wales:

In 2007/7 547homicides (adults), 187 female, 44% murdered by current or ex partners.

Overall rate: 45-49% of women are killed by current or ex male partners

5-7% of men are killed by current or ex female partners

Ireland: 8 women in 2007, 12 in 2006

Average since 2000 = 10 per year

Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit

source material
Source material

Murder in Britain Study

Rebecca & Russell Dobash, Kate Cavanagh & Ruth Lewis, 2002

Findings from the Multi-Agency Domestic Violence Murder Review

Laura Richards, Metropolitan Police, 2003

Perpetrators of Spousal Homicide. A review

Mari L. Aldridge & Kevin D. Browne, 2003

A matter of life and death: Intimate partner homicide in Ireland

Stephanie Holt, 2007

‘If only we’d known’: an exploratory study of seven intimate partner homicides in Engleshire

Linda Regan, Liz Kelly, Anne Morris & Rebecca Dibb, 2007

Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit

risk factors for intimate partner violence
Risk factors for Intimate Partner Violence
  • Being a young woman
  • Large age differential between woman and her male partner
  • Children/pregnancy
  • Poverty
  • Co-habitation
  • Previous violence by the man
  • Jealousy
  • Separation
  • Infidelity
  • Substance misuse
  • Threats to kill
  • Use of weapons
    • Extractedfrom a range of national and international research

Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit

which ipv perpetrators kill 1
Which IPV Perpetrators kill? - 1

Homicide perpetrators were less likely to have:

  • a father who abused their mother
  • a problem with alcohol abuse
  • grown up in unskilled or unemployed households
  • a mother who worked outside the home
  • Been physically abused by their father
  • Experienced long-term unemployment
  • Worked in an unskilled job
  • Abused alcohol
  • A previous criminal conviction
  • A criminal conviction for violence
  • Used violence towards their current partner

Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit

which ipv perpetrators kill 2
Which IPV Perpetrators Kill - 2

BUT MORE LIKELY TO HAVE:

  • Used violence against a previous partner
  • Been cohabiting or have never lived with their partner
  • Separated from their current partner if cohabiting or married – or about to be
  • Displayed possessiveness and jealousy
  • Sexually assaulted their partner
  • Been sober at the time of the incident
  • Used a weapon during the incident

Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit

assessing risk of lethality
Assessing risk of lethality
  • The research evidence points to IPH perpetrators:
    • Having at least one prior broken relationship
    • Having a history of violence, against a partner in a previous relationship and potentially also in current relationship
    • If has a criminal conviction it will be for violence against a woman
    • Being possessive and jealous of his partner
    • Having a partner he perceives is unfaithful or who has actually been unfaithful
    • Having a partner who is or has left him

Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit

the engleshire study risk assessment instruments
The Engleshire Study – Risk Assessment Instruments
  • SPECSS+
    • Separation (child contact); Pregnancy (new birth), Escalation, Culture (understood to encompass multiple forms of isolation and barriers to reporting), Stalking and Sexual Assault plus additional 8 to be considered including abuse of children.
  • SARA
    • comprises 22 indicators,including: past assault of any family member, strangers or acquaintances; sexual assault of and/or threats to kill previous partner/s; threats to kill unspecified others; personality disorder; past or current breach of probation/supervision; victim of or witness to domestic violence as a child. How the perpetrator understands domestic violence is also covered through questions about minimisation or denial and attitudes that support or condone violence
  • Danger Assessment
    • comprises 20 indicators, which overlap and differ with SPECSS+. DA includes whether or not the victim believes the perpetrator is capable of homicide

Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit

the engleshire study risk factors
The Engleshire Study – risk factors
  • Jealous surveillance – all 7 cases
  • Relationship conflict – all 7 cases
  • Controlling behaviour – in 6 cases
  • Actual or potential separation – in 6 cases
  • Perpetrator depression – in 5 cases
  • Histories of violence – in 5 cases
  • Potential suicide – in 5 cases
  • Clustering!

Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit

coercive control
Coercive Control
  • Violence (including sexual coercion and jealousy)
  • Intimidation (including threats, surveillance, stalking, degradation and shaming)
  • Isolation (including from family, friends and the world outside the home)
  • Control (including control of family resources and ‘micromanagement’ of everyday life)

“Not only is coercive control the most common context in which women are abused, it is also the most dangerous’

        • Evan Stark (2007) Coercive Control. How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life. New York: Oxford University Press

Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit

what we learnt about agencies in engleshire
What we learnt about Agencies in Engleshire
  • Limited understanding of IPV by GP’s
  • Extremely variable understanding of IPV among front line police officers – more among specialist officers
  • Very limited knowledge or understanding about risk assessment processes
  • Little evidence of any training on risk assessment
  • Ongoing problems with information sharing across agencies except in cases subject to MARACs
  • Limited ability of risk assessment instruments to predict lethality
  • Outcomes of risk assessments often not shared with victims

Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit

if only we d known
If only we’d known

Nobody obviously thought he was going to really do too much to her, and they obviously didn’t think he was going to kill her,or it would’ve been a completely different situation.

The story in Coronation Street now. The character of Charlie. Since this happened with my daughter, that character is in my mind, and I think it’s a different girl but it is the same scenario. The womaniser, the control, that is the same … [If you had seen that] you would have put it together, I probably would.

Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit