Death by Domestic Violence: Preventing the Murders and Murder-Suicides

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Each year, about 33 percent of all women and 3 percent of all men murdered in the United States, are killed by a so-called intimate, a spouse, partner, or lover. Nationwide, murder by an intimate is the number one cause of death for pregnant women. And murder by an intimate is not just an American problem. A European task force recently found domestic violence accounts for 25 percent of all homicides in London, and 35 percent across England and Wales. In this timely book, van Wormer and Roberts describe the problem, and what they have seen and heard on the front lines with both women and men who have escaped domestic violence that was escalating toward deadly levels. The text examines not only the psychology of the batterer but of domestic murder, and domestic murder-suicide. Drawn from the experience and insights of these two widely-known social workers, the text includes a safety plan for those at risk and a chapter providing narratives of women in prison for killing their abusive husband or partner.

Drawing on the experience and insights of these two widely-known social workers, Death by Domestic Violence separates domestic violence myths and facts, explains the traumatic bonding that occurs between batterer and victim, and details how one facet of the solution could be school-based interventions and education. The book culminates with recommendations for further reduction of harm and a safety plan for those at risk.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Van Wormer (social work, Univ. of Northern Iowa) and Roberts (social work and criminal justice, Rutgers) have written a compelling, comprehensive, insightful, and eye-opening book about the number one killer of women throughout the world: their intimate partners. The reader walks away with an empirically supported understanding of domestic violence offenders and their victims. In addition, the authors have developed an excellent critique of the most widely accepted treatment models, offering readers a comprehensive overview not typically found in a single writing. This reviewer has worked in the field of domestic violence for 30 years and still learned new information from this book. A must read for health care providers, educators, law enforcement professionals, and clergy—essentially anyone who works with women of virtually any age. Whole-heartedly recommended. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above."



"The book is scholarly while retaining its readability….It is a very positive feature of this book that content includes practical interventions to assess risk and prevent domestic homicide….This book makes a welcome and balanced contribution on the topic of domestic violence and homicide…"


Research on Social Work Practice

"This text provides great insight into the occurrence of murder and murder-suicide in domestic violence situations. I believe people in all the helping professions, educators, and scholars would benefit from having a copy of this book in their professional library."


Families in Society Online

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Product Details

Table of Contents

1 Women and Families at Risk: An Overview 1

Pt. I The Psychology of Life-Threatening Abuse 21

2 Risk Factors for Domestic Homicide 23

3 The Dynamics of Murder-Suicide in Domestic Situations 42

4 The Role of Alcohol and Other Drugs in Domestic Homicide Katherine van Wormer van Wormer, Katherine Alissa Mallow Mallow, Alissa Kelly Ward Ward, Kelly 54

5 Issues of Power and Control in the Death of a Loved One Kelly Ward Ward, Kelly Carolyn A. Bradley Bradley, Carolyn A. 66

6 Portraits of Life in the Aftermath of Domestic Homicide Marilyn Peterson Armour Armour, Marilyn Peterson 85

Pt. II The Sociology of Domestic Homicide 99

7 Domestic Homicide Worldwide Katherine van Wormer van Wormer, Katherine Woochan S. Shim Shim, Woochan S. 101

8 Response of the U.S. Criminal Justice System 116

9 Personal Narratives of Women in Prison for Partner Homicide 136

Pt. III Prevention 149

10 Safety Plans for the Prevention of Intimate Homicide 151

11 Work with Dangerous Battering Men 164

Index 187

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