U.S. flag

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

Surveillance for Homicide Among Intimate Partners: United States, 1981-1998

NCJ Number
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Volume: 50 Issue: SS-3 Dated: October 12, 2001 Pages: 1-15
Date Published
October 2001
Based on Supplemental Homicide Reports (SHRs) collected by the FBI as part of their Uniform Crime Reporting System, this report summarizes information on intimate partner homicides (IPHs) that occurred in the United States during 1981-98.
Supplemental Homicide Reports (SHRs)are filed voluntarily by police departments for homicides that have occurred within their jurisdictions. SHRs include demographic variables regarding victims and perpetrators, their relationship, and weapons used. Data from the SHR file were weighted by comparison with homicide data from death certificates to compensate for underreporting. IPHs were restricted to victims older than 10 years. The analysis found that the risk for death from IPH among males was 0.62 times the risk among females; however, the rate among Black males was 1.16 times the rate among Black females. Among racial groups, rates among Blacks were highest, and the rates among Asian or Pacific Islanders were lowest. Rates were highest among females aged 20-49 years old and among males aged 30-59 years. During the study period, rates among white females decreased 23 percent, and rates among white males decreased 61.9 percent. Rates among Black females decreased 47.6 percent, and rates among Black males decreased 76.4 percent. The highest rates of IPH occurred in the southern and western States among both white and Black females. A graded increase in IPH risk occurred with community population size. Approximately 50 percent of IPHs were committed by legal spouses, and 33 percent by boyfriends or girlfriends for both male and female victims. Although total homicide rates have fluctuated during 1981-98, IPH rates have decreased steadily during this period, and among certain subpopulations, the decrease has been substantial. These decreases are temporally associated with the introduction of social programs and legal measures to curb intimate partner violence, but a causal relationship has not been established. 4 tables, 6 figures, and 49 references