BC Coroners Service releases Domestic Violence Research

For Immediate Release
April 17, 2012

Ministry of Justice
BC Coroners Service

Victoria – Murdered women are eight times more likely than men to be killed by their spouse or romantic partner, according to new research from the BC Coroners Service.

This is one of the key findings of a BC Coroners Service research project into domestic violence deaths in B.C. since 2003. The report on the research was made public today as part of Prevention of Violence Against Women Week.The report looked at a total of 120 homicides which occurred from 2003 through 2011 in circumstances of “intimate partner violence” or IPV. IPV is defined as intentional harm or injury inflicted by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend or other romantic partner of the victim. A victim of IPV may include the current or former partner of the assailant, or a child or other person who died in an incident targeting the assailant’s partner.

Those 120 victims represented about one-eighth of all the persons who were victims of homicide in B.C. during the nine-year period. But 36.4 per cent of women who were murdered were killed by their intimate partners, but only 4.6 per cent of men died in such circumstances.

“Deaths from intimate partner violence remain a matter of great concern,” said chief coroner Lisa Lapointe. “The Coroners Service continues to monitor responses to our Death Review Panel on these issues and plans to reconvene the panel within a year to determine whether changes made are preventing further deaths and whether further recommendations are warranted.”

The research showed that of the assailants, 80 per cent were male and 20 per cent were female. In every situation in which more than one person died – either multiple homicides or homicide-suicides – the assailant was male. Females were more likely than males to kill in the heat of anger, but males were more likely to kill when a relationship had ended.

The full report may be found on the BC Coroners website at:http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/coroners/publications/index.htm

A factsheet follows.

For further information, please contact:
Barbara McLintock
Coroner, Strategic Programs
250 356-9253 or 250 213-5020


Some key findings from the BC Coroners Service research project into intimate partner violence deaths include:

· A total of 120 homicides in B.C. involved intimate partner violence (IPV) in the years 2003-11.
· This represented 12.6 per cent of all homicides during this time – 4.6 per cent of male homicide deaths, but 36.4 per cent of female homicide deaths.
· The rate of IPV deaths was highest in the Northern Region.
· Individuals of Aboriginal ancestry were over-represented, accounting for nine per cent of the IPV homicide victims while comprising five per cent of the B.C. population.
· Of IPV homicide victims, 72.5 per cent were female, with the rest male.
· There were no cases of IPV deaths among same-sex couples during the nine-year period.
· The average age of female IPV victims was 44.9 years and of male victims 37.4 years. This is slightly older than the average age of victims of all homicides.
· The most common means of death in IPV homicides was stabbing, which accounted for one-quarter of the female deaths and almost two-thirds of the male deaths.

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