Gendered entitlement or generally violent? Predictors of homicide offending by victim-offender relationship

Dr Samara McPhedran1, Dr Li Eriksson1, Professor Paul Mazerolle1, Associate Professor Holly Johnson2, Professor Richard Wortley3
1Griffith University, , Australia, 2University of Ottawa, , Canada, 3UCL, , UK

An estimated one in seven homicides globally are perpetrated by intimate partners, with the likelihood of victimisation higher for women than for men. In Australia, around one in five homicides are perpetrated by intimate partners, with women making up around 75 percent of victims. However, despite a growing body of research examining pathways to homicide, the literature remains divided on whether intimate partner homicide (IPH) offenders should be considered a distinct ‘group’ of homicide offenders. Some scholars argue that intimate partner violence reflects patriarchal gender structures, male entitlement, and proprietary attitudes, while others suggest that intimate partner violence is not an expression of gender and patriarchy, but of violent tendencies in general. Using data collected as part of the Australian Homicide Project, this paper compares IPH offenders with other homicide offenders across a range of dimensions including gender-based attitudes towards marital roles, endorsement of male privileges, approval of violence, and behavioural control. It also considers criminal career dimensions, past use of violence within and external to intimate relationships, and various psychosocial factors. Implications for policy and practice are identified.


Dr Samara McPhedran is a Senior Research Fellow with the Violence Research and Prevention Program at Griffith University. Her areas of particular expertise include homicide, suicide, firearm violence and injury prevention.


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