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Characteristics of homicide followed by suicide incidents in multiple states, 2003–04
  1. R M Bossarte,
  2. T R Simon,
  3. L Barker
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Atlanta, GA, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr R M Bossarte
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 4770 Buford Highway, NE, Mailstop K-60, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA; bvy9{at}


Objective: To calculate the prevalence of homicide followed by suicide (homicide/suicide) and provide contextual information on the incidents and demographic information about the individuals involved using data from a surveillance system that is uniquely equipped to study homicide/suicide.

Methods: Data are from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS). This active state-based surveillance system includes data from seven states for 2003 and 13 states for 2004. The incident-level structure facilitates identification of homicide/suicide incidents.

Results: Within participating states, 65 homicide/suicide incidents (homicide rate  =  0.230/100 000) occurred in 2003 and 144 incidents (homicide rate  =  0.238/100 000) occurred in 2004. Most victims (58%) were a current or former intimate partner of the perpetrator. Among all male perpetrators of intimate partner homicide 30.6% were also suicides. A substantial proportion of the victims (13.7%) were the children of the perpetrator. Overall, most victims (74.6%) were female and most perpetrators were male (91.9%). A recent history of legal problems (25.3%), or financial problems (9.3%) was common among the perpetrators.

Conclusions: The results support earlier research documenting the importance of intimate partner violence (IPV) and situational stressors on homicide/suicide. These results suggest that efforts to provide assistance to families in crisis and enhance the safety of IPV victims are needed to reduce risk for homicide/suicide. The consistency of the results from the NVDRS with those from past studies and the comprehensive information available in the NVDRS highlight the promise of this system for studying homicide/suicide incidents and for evaluating the impact of prevention policies and programs.

  • IPV, intimate partner violence
  • MSA, metropolitan statistical area
  • NVDRS, National Violent Death Reporting System
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  • The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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