Femicide Volume 13

Intimate femicide: The role of coercive control

intimate partner homicide
violence against women


Severe and escalating violence is cited as a precursor to intimate partner homicide and figures prominently in risk assessments and domestic violence death reviews. Drawing on interviews from the Australian Homicide Project with a sample of men convicted of killing intimate partners, we examine the backgrounds of perpetrators and the contexts in which the killings occurred and find that fully half report no physical or sexual assaults against their partners in the year prior to the homicide. These results raise important questions about assessments of risk and the typification of the “battered woman” on which many policy responses rely.

External Authors

Holly Johnson
Li Eriksson
Paul Mazerolle
Richard Wortley
Coercive control provides the backdrop against which much male partner violence takes place, but this study shows that extreme violence—femicide—can take place in relational contexts of male control and intimidation where expected warning signs of escalating assaults and injury are absent.




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