U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Homicides by Males and Females in India--the Domestic Context

NCJ Number
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice Volume: 30 Issue: 2 Dated: Fall 2006 Pages: 255-287
Beverly A. Smith; Sesha Kethineni
Date Published
33 pages
This study examined the cultural context in which domestic-related homicides occurred in India.
Whether victims or perpetrators of domestic violence, the women interviewed almost exclusively reported they had not abused or in most cases even used alcohol. Indian domestic murders, much like the violent crimes in other countries, featured the use of weapons at hand in the home or family workplace. Those weapons ranged from bare hands, knives, and household poisons to agricultural instruments, such as machetes, sickles, and pipes. No domestic murderer shot his/her victim. India has a strict gun control policy. Women who sought work outside the home, even in the face of oppressive poverty, were viewed by their killers as challenging their male authority. Of the 64 domestic murderers, only males killed siblings and parents with some of those deaths arising out of disputes involving land or property inheritance and rights to available water. Females killed their children, their spouses, or their daughters-in-law, but not their parents or siblings. Due to identified study limitations, future research is recommended in tracking the prevalence and incidence of these domestic homicides. Domestic violence in India, in some respects, very much resembles domestic violence in other countries. However, such violence has been much more extensively studied in these other countries. Using extensive interviews of 32 males and 32 females serving life sentences in Indian prisons for domestic-related homicides, this study attempted to provide insight into those murders in which the killers were closely related, by blood or marriage, to their victims. Tables, references