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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