Fixated threats and more: Four pathways to explain the occurrence of male-perpetrated intimate partner homicide

Ms Hayley Boxall1

1Australian Institute Of Criminology, Canberra, Australia

Intimate partner homicide is the most common form of homicide in Australia. However, an understanding of intimate partner homicide incidents in Australia, particularly the nature and course of the relationship between the victim and offender, is currently limited. This gap in the research is notable considering the importance of such information for identifying potential intervention points, as well as events and behaviours that could foreshadow fatal outcomes within relationships.

Based on the analysis of 200 incidents of male-perpetrated homicide of a female intimate partner that occurred in Australia over a 10-year period, this paper describes four key pathways that were identified: fixated threat, disordered/persistent, acute stressor/deterioration and revenge. These pathways were differentiated from one another using a number of key criteria, including the nature of violence and abuse within the relationship, the extent to which the offender was ‘visible’ to criminal justice agencies, the locus of control within the relationship, the status of the relationship at time of the lethal violence and the presence of factors that impacted the ability of the offender to regulate their emotions effectively. The implications of these pathways for intervention and disruption of IPH pathways are also discussed.


Hayley Boxall is the Manager for the Violence against Women and Children (VAW&C) Research Program at the Australian Institute of Criminology. Since joining the Institute 10 years ago, she has published extensively on domestic and family violence (DFV), and has been the primary investigator on a number of projects aimed at understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on DFV, and improving criminal justice responses to DFV and victim/survivors, and pathways/trajectories into DFV offending.


Aug 30 2021


8:00 am - 6:00 pm