Suicide and Additional Homicides Associated with Intimate Partner Homicide: North Carolina 2004–2013

Abstract

Intimate partner homicide (IPH) is a critical public health and safety issue in the USA. In this study, we determine the prevalence and correlates of perpetrator suicide and additional homicides following intimate partner homicide (IPH) in a large, diverse state with high quality data. We extract IPHs from the North Carolina Violent Death Reporting System for 2004–2013 and identify suicides and other homicides that were part of the same incidents. We analyze the likelihood (in odds ration form) of perpetrator suicide and additional homicides using logistic regression analysis. Almost all IPH-suicide cases were by men with guns (86.6%). Almost one-half of IPHs committed by men with guns ended with suicide. Male-perpetrated IPH incidents averaged 1.58 deaths if a gun was used, and 1.14 deaths otherwise. It is well-known that gun access increases the chance that a violent domestic relationship will end in death. The current findings demonstrate that gun IPH is often coupled with additional killings. As suicidal batterers will not be deterred from IPH by threat of punishment, the results underline the importance of preemption by limiting batterers’ access to guns.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Because some IPH included more than one additional victim, these percentages do not add to 100%.

  2. 2.

    This result is not reported in the table but reflects a logistic regression of the relationship between relationship status “spouse” and the odds of being killed in a homicide suicide. The results control for age, racial, and ethnic status.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Scott Proescholdbell and Shana Geary from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for their support during this project. We also thank Kristin Goss, members of the LBT Writing Group, and anonymous reviewers at the Journal of Urban Health for their insightful comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Sierra Smucker.

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Smucker, S., Kerber, R.E. & Cook, P.J. Suicide and Additional Homicides Associated with Intimate Partner Homicide: North Carolina 2004–2013. J Urban Health 95, 337–343 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-018-0252-8

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Keywords

  • Intimate partner homicide
  • Domestic violence
  • Homicide
  • Suicide
  • Firearms
  • Violence against women
  • Crime policy
  • Homicide suicide