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Classifying Partner Femicide

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 23 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2008 Pages: 74-93
Louise Dixon; Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis; Kevin Browne
Date Published
January 2008
20 pages
This study examined the heterogeneity of men who commit parter femicide.
The heterogeneity of domestic violent men has long been established. However, research has failed to examine this phenomenon among men committing the most severe form of domestic violence. This study aims to use a multidimensional approach to empirically construct a classification system of men who are incarcerated for the murder of their female partner based on the Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart (1994) typology. Ninety men who had been convicted and imprisoned for the murder of their female partner or spouse in England were identified from two prison samples. A content dictionary defining offense and offender characteristics associated with two dimensions of psychopathology and criminality was developed. These variables were extracted from institutional records via content analysis and analyzed for thematic structure using multidimensional scaling procedures. The resultant framework classified 80 percent (n = 72) of the sample into three subgroups of men characterized by (a) low criminality/low psychopathology (15 percent), (b) moderate-high criminality/ high psychopathology (36 percent), and (c) high criminality/low-moderate psychopathology (49 percent). The latter two groups are akin to Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart's (1994) generally violent/antisocial and dysphoric/borderline offender, respectively. The implications for intervention, developing consensus in research methodology across the field, and examining typologies of domestic violent men prospectively are discussed. (Published Abstract)