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Murder in Families

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 1994
14 pages
Publication Series
A survey of homicide cases disposed in 1988 by courts in large urban counties indicated that 16 percent of murder victims were members of the defendant's family; 64 percent were murdered by friends or acquaintances and 20 percent were murdered by strangers.

This BJS Special Report, a survey of murder cases disposed in 1988 in the courts of large urban counties, found that 16% of murder victims were members of the defendant's family: 6.5% were killed by their spouses, 3.5% by their parents, 1.9% by their own children, 1.5% by their siblings, and 2.6% by other relatives. Women were 45% of the victims in murders involving family members but 18% of victims in other murders. Among family murder defendants, 35% were female versus 7% among nonfamily defendants. Women were over half of the defendants (55%) in only one category of family murder: parents killing their offspring. Firearms were used in 42% of family murders, compared to 63% of nonfamily murders.

Date Published: July 1, 1994