Until death do us part

Dixon, L and Graham-kevan, Nicola orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0621-3093 (2011) Until death do us part. The Psychologist, 24 . pp. 820-823.

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Official URL: https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-24/editi...


Just under one quarter of all homicide victims in England and Wales were killed by an intimate partner in the year 2008/9, according to Home Office statistics. In the aftermath of such fatalities, where the offender was clearly well known to the victim, questions are often raised about whether the attack could have been foreseen and whether services had failed the victim in not preventing the sometimes seemingly inevitable event. This article considers how psychological theory and research can lend itself to the prevention of serious and fatal intimate partner violence and looks at the current state of practice in this domain.

‘Stalker guilty of stabbing ex-girlfriend to death in brutal attack’ (London Evening Standard, 2010)

‘Bridge game fights “led man to murder wife”’ (Reuters, 2010)

‘Horror as man kills himself after stabbing ex-partner outside Tesco store’ (Daily Record, 2010)

Attention-grabbing headlines like these that depict murderous scenes of male-perpetrated violence against a female intimate partner, are commonplace in the British media.

Lethal acts that hit the headlines are often preceded by risk factors that, with hindsight, show warning signs of the event that was about to unfold (as in the 2010 case of Raoul Moat, see Case 1 opposite). As psychology can be used to evidence patterns in behaviour, it is plausible that this branch of the social sciences will be able to contribute to the prediction and prevention of intimate partner homicide

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