Inj Prev 12:ii10-ii16 doi:10.1136/ip.2006.012617
  • The National Violent Death Reporting System

Deaths from violence in North Carolina, 2004: how deaths differ in females and males

  1. C Sanford1,
  2. S W Marshall2,3,
  3. S L Martin3,4,
  4. T Coyne-Beasley3,5,
  5. A E Waller6,
  6. P J Cook7,
  7. T Norwood1,
  8. Z Demissie2
  1. 1Injury and Violence Prevention Branch, Division of Public Health, NC Department Health and Human Services, Raleigh, NC, USA
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  3. 3Injury Prevention Research Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  4. 4Department of Maternal and Child Heath, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  5. 5Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  6. 6Department of Emergency Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  7. 7Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 MrsC (Kay) Sanford
 Director, NC Violent Death Reporting System, Injury and Violence Prevention Branch, NC Division of Public Health, 1915 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1915, USA; kay.sanford{at}
  • Accepted 3 August 2006


Objective: To identify gender differences in violent deaths in terms of incidence, circumstances, and methods of death.

Design: Analysis of surveillance data.

Setting: North Carolina, a state of 8.6 million residents on the eastern seaboard of the US.

Subjects: 1674 North Carolina residents who died from violence in the state during 2004.

Methods: Information on violent deaths was collected by the North Carolina Violent Death Reporting System using data from death certificates, medical examiner reports, and law enforcement agency incidence reports.

Results: Suicide and homicide rates were lower for females than males. For suicides, females were more likely than males to have a diagnosis of depression (55% v 36%), a current mental health problem (66% v 42%), or a history of suicide attempts (25% v 13%). Firearms were the sole method of suicide in 65% of males and 42% of females. Poisonings were more common in female than male suicides (37% v 12%). Male and female homicide victims were most likely to die from a handgun or a sharp instrument. Fifty seven percent of female homicides involved intimate partner violence, compared with 13% of male homicides. Among female homicides involving intimate partner violence, 78% occurred in the woman’s home. White females had a higher rate of suicide than African-American females, but African-American females had a higher rate of homicide than white females.

Conclusions: The incidence, circumstances, and methods of fatal violence differ greatly between females and males. These differences should be taken into account in the development of violence prevention efforts.


  • This work was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Violent Death Reporting System Grant No #U17/CCU423098.

  • Competing interests: none.

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