The role of immigration status, pre-migration trauma, and post-migration stressors in pathways to intimate partner homicide

Christie Franks1, Hayley Boxall1, Siobhan Lawler1, Laura Doherty1

1Australian Institute Of Criminology, Canberra, Australia

Prior research has explored the role of immigration status, pre-migration trauma, and post-migration stress as contributors to domestic violence within cultural and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. However, little research has explored the impact of these factors in the context of IPH. The AIC analysed 200 cases of male-perpetrated IPH against a female partner in Australia between 2006 and 2018 and found that 62 offenders (31%) were born overseas with 51 of those offenders (26%) born in countries where English was not the primary language.

The analysis identified that the pre and post-migration experiences of victims and perpetrators of IPH may have a role in understanding the occurrence of IPH. For example, the immigration status and language skills of both perpetrators of IPH and victims appeared to have systemic and chronic implications for their ability to access services and exacerbated stressors associated with family violence. Also, pre-migration traumatic experiences were common among identified perpetrators, including instances of individuals or families escaping regions of war, disaster, or ethnic and/or religious persecution. Perpetrators may have also personally experienced violence, rape, or sexual assault in their countries of origin, which had contributed to the development of persistent mental health conditions like PTSD. Post-migration issues identified for perpetrators and victims of IPH included cultural, linguistic, economic, and social pressures during resettlement, which appeared to interact with pre-migration trauma and stressors.

Overall, there was evidence that the pre and post-migration experiences of IPH perpetrators and victims contributed to the risk of IPH. This research aims to inform policy and program delivery as well as contribute to the broader evidence base examining IPH.


Christie Franks is a Research Analyst in the Violence against Women and Children Research Program. Christie’s areas of expertise are human trafficking and modern slavery, identity crime, and biometric technology. Her previous work in cybersecurity and darknet profiling contributes to her work at the AIC by adding a necessary technology lens perspective in an increasingly digital-dependent society. In addition to this research, Christie has been involved in multiple AIC identity crime and biometrics projects to inform policy, the development of monitoring and evaluation frameworks for government programs, and research examining offender pathways to intimate partner homicide.


Aug 30 2021


8:00 am - 6:00 pm