Intimate partner homicide-suicide in Australia and Canada: A cross-country comparison

L. Eriksson*1, M. Dawson2, P. Mazerolle3, S. McPhedran4, R. Wortley5, H. Johnson6

1 Griffith Criminology Institute / School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University
2 Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence / Department of Sociology & Anthropology, University of Guelph 
3 Office of the Vice Chancellor / Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University
4 Violence Research and Prevention Program, Griffith University
5 Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science / Department of Security and Crime Science, University College London
6 Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa

*corresponding author:

In recent years, there has been a proliferation of research identifying common risk factors in cases of intimate partner and domestic homicide. However, to date, there have been few, if any, systematic country comparisons of risk factors in cases of intimate partner and domestic homicide. In addition, there has been an inherent assumption in reviews of findings cross-nationally that risk factors are being defined and measured consistently across studies. Thus, a key objective of any systematic cross-country comparison needs to be to ensure to the degree possible that what is being compared is the same in both countries.

The main objective of the current study is to systematically compare the characteristics and context of intimate partner homicide-suicides in Australia and Canada. While rare compared to other violent crime, intimate partner homicide-suicides have devastating effects on families and communities and are a recognized public health concern. These killings often leave children without parents and communities reeling from feelings of helplessness as they try to come to grips with what could have prevented these deaths. As such, identifying similarities and differences in these cases across countries can help identify the necessary interventions that may be unique to specific jurisdictions or common internationally.

We also seek to identify key issues that arise in determining what variables can be compared across countries as well as in defining and measuring the selected variables. Further, the Australian data are drawn from medical examiner files and the Canadian data are drawn from domestic violence death review data. Therefore, we are also able to examine the benefits and challenges of each of these data sources in research that examines domestic-violence related deaths.


Li Eriksson is a Lecturer in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University. Her research interests include domestic violence, homicide and criminological theory. Prior to joining Griffith University, Li worked as a Research Assistant at the Department of Criminology at Stockholm University and as a Research Analyst for the Swedish National Council of Crime Prevention.

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