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Intimate Partner Homicide in Denmark 2007–2017: Tracking Potential Predictors of Fatal Violence

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Rye, Søren 
Angel, Caroline 


Research Question What are the characteristics of intimate partner homicide in Denmark that may inform more accurate prediction and prevention of such crimes, and how is knowledge of those facts distributed across families, police and other agencies? Data All Danish police data on all 77 cases of intimate partner homicide (IPH) reported over eleven years (2007 through 2017) in ten of the 12 Danish Police Districts were coded by the first author, comprising 75% of all known IPH cases in Denmark for those years and 100% of the cases in Districts that allowed access to their investigative files. Methods Potentially predictive variables were selected for coding based on similar studies recently completed in the UK and Australia, with comparisons made between these Danish results and the prior findings. Special emphasis was placed on which potential predictors had been known by some organization or person, but never reported to police until after the homicides had occurred. Findings Characteristics of IPH cases in this study are remarkably similar to those found in the UK studies, starting with the nearly-identical rates of IPH per 100,000. The Danish data show even greater prevalence of male offenders having discussed, threatened or attempted suicide prior to killing their intimate partner (52%) than in the all-England sample (40%). Danish IPH cases were even more likely (71%) than the Thames Valley cases (54%) to have had no prior recorded police contact as a couple before the IPH incident. In Denmark, parties other than police had prior knowledge of domestic abuse in almost half (47%) of the murders, including public agencies (22% of IPH), but did not share that information with police. Conclusions In Denmark as in the UK, police have no prior contact with most intimate couples suffering a homicide. While suicidal tendencies are highly prevalent in such cases, police have no legal framework for obtaining intelligence about such risk factors from health and social agencies. These findings show that in Denmark as elsewhere, creating a duty by other public agencies to share information might improve prediction and prevention of domestic homicides.



48 Law and Legal Studies, 4805 Legal Systems, 4402 Criminology, 44 Human Society, Clinical Research, Mental Health, Violence Research, Suicide, Mental health, 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

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Cambridge Journal of Evidence-Based Policing

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
This study was funded by a grant from the Danish Trygfonden (Security Foundation) to the Danish Police College to support the first author's studies to complete the Master of Studies degree in applied criminology and police management.