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Q: Divorce-Related Murders ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Divorce-Related Murders
Category: Reference, Education and News > Current Events
Asked by: rickrad-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 26 Aug 2002 21:10 PDT
Expires: 25 Sep 2002 21:10 PDT
Question ID: 58911
How many murders in the US last year can be connected with divorce, or
divorcing couples, or divorced individuals? -- in other words, how
many murders can be connected to divorce in any way?  And what was the
figure a decade or so ago?

The quality of this answer is more important to me than how fast I get
the answer.  Also, the answer should be based on documented stats of
some kind, so that a respected TV reporter would be satisfied in
reporting the answer as news, and be able to cite the source.

Request for Question Clarification by rico-ga on 27 Aug 2002 05:35 PDT
Hi rickrad

My initial search indicates I could probably put together the numbers
for 2000. The complete statistics don't appear to be available yet for
2001. Similarly, the numbers appear to be there for 1994 at the
latest.  There's a possibility, again, I might be able to get numbers
for 1992, but `94 seems more likely.  Would that be acceptable?


Clarification of Question by rickrad-ga on 27 Aug 2002 06:43 PDT
Good, documented stats that a TV reporter would feel comfortable
reporting on-air for 2000 and 1994 would be good enough.

Request for Question Clarification by kyrie26-ga on 27 Aug 2002 12:34 PDT
Hi rickrad-ga,

I'd like more information on the definitions involved in your
question. Am I correct to say that...

Divorce :
Where one ex-spouse murders the other

Divorcing couples :
Where one spouse murders the other for spouses who have initiated
legal proceedings for divorce, but are not yet divorced

Divorced individuals :
Where an individual who is divorced is murdered, regardless of who the
murderer is

... are these correct?

Thanks in advance,


Clarification of Question by rickrad-ga on 27 Aug 2002 13:06 PDT
First two are correct, the third one is not what I'm looking for.  I'm
trying to get stats that help show how the emotional rage of divorce
(or even separation) is tied to murder -- kinda like that comment
someone posted about germany.

So how about if we go with these three categories:
1)  Someone kills their spouse (or has them killed)
2)  Someone kills their spouse that they are separated from or
divorcing (or has them killed)
3)  Someone kills their ex-spouse (or has them killed)

If you could put that into the context of how many murders total for
the same year, that would be handy too.

Thank you for being so detailed in your effort!  I appreciate it!

  - Rick

Clarification of Question by rickrad-ga on 27 Aug 2002 13:59 PDT
I don't necessarily need it broken down by the three categories -- but
I would like all three categories included in the grand total...  does
that help?

Request for Question Clarification by madsky101-ga on 27 Aug 2002 21:28 PDT
I have made an attempt to find the information you are seeking.  
I have received information from various sources, and all of them have
advised me that the statistics that are available contain information
about violence associated with intimate partners, which are current or
former spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends.  The statistics seem to
include all of these groups and not just victims murdered by their
I can provide these types of statistics, including a chart that lists
the percentages of all homicides, against females and males, that were
committed by an intimate partner, and the sources for the information.
 Many of these statistics cover the years 1993-1999, and were included
in a report that was released in October of 2001.
As far as I know, the official statistics for the year 2001, or 2002,
have not been compiled yet.
If this information will meet your needs, please let me know and I
will post my answer.  I have quite a bit of information and I just
want to make sure that you would be satisfied with my offering. I just
want to make sure that I am not posting information, as an answer,
that will not be useful for your project.

Clarification of Question by rickrad-ga on 27 Aug 2002 22:04 PDT
I think that data would do it...   the FBI data was really good -- but
not focused enough on intimate partners.  As long as children,
parents, and relatives were not included in your totals, (i.e. "other
family") then your numbers would be sufficient to meet my needs.

So to re-pose the question, Murders & Violence stats between current
or former lovers would be close enouhg for me.
Subject: Re: Divorce-Related Murders
Answered By: madsky101-ga on 28 Aug 2002 14:20 PDT

As I stated in my request for clarification, most of the available
statistics do not list the murders involving spouses divorcing,
divorced or separated individuals.

The available statistics concerning murders by intimate partners, can
be found through sources such as the Department of Justice or the FBI.

Intimate Partners statistics will include husband/wife, common-law
husband/wife, ex-husband/wife, and boyfriend/girlfriend incidents.

Historically, females are most likely to be murdered by an intimate
partner.  In 1999, 1218 of the 1642 murdered by intimate partners were
female.  Between 1993 and 1999, an intimate partner was responsible
for 32% of homicides for women ages 20-24 years and 40% of homicides
of women 34-49 years.

I have listed the links to the different sources I have searched in
order to help you find the requested information concerning these
types of homicides.  I have included some information spanning the
years of 1976-1999, but most of the reports will be concerning
information about the years 1993-99 and published in the year 2001.

I have collected data from the online resources of the FBI' Uniform
Crime Reports, US Department of Justice, National Criminal Justice
Reference Service, and the Sourcebook of Criminal justice Statistics. 
I was advised where to find most of this information by Callie
Rennison, Ph.D. Statistician, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

According to Chris Dunn, Director, National Archive of Criminal
Justice Data, located at the University of Michigan, there are not any
specific reports available detailing victims who are divorced or

The available data on homicides come from the FBI's Supplemental
Homicide Reports.  A variable in those data indicates the
victim/offender relationship and another variable indicates
circumstances.  So the relationship variable would give you
information on spouses and ex-spouses who are offenders or victims and
the circumstance variable would give you information on a large list
of circumstances including arguments and lovers triangles.

None of the variables provides information specifically about homicide
directly related to divorce.  You can analyze the homicide data
on-line at:

Any data that I have listed pertaining to the US Department of Justice
can be obtained through the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data,
located at the University of Michigan, phone 1-800-999-0960.  You can
also search their online database at the BJS Website,, search for dataset ICPSR 6406.

US Department of Justice Information and Sources

Women who were separated from their husbands were subject to
victimization at higher rates compared to the statistics involving
married, divorced, widowed, or never married women.

U.S. Department of Justice 
Bureau of Justice Statistics, Press Release, October 28, 2001

The percentages of all homicides against males or females committed by
an intimate from 1993 through 1999 by gender and age were as follows:

Age of victim Female victims Male victims 
    12-15       10 %           1 %  
    16-19       22             1   
    20-24       32             2   
    25-34       36             4   
    35-49       38             6   
    50-64       30             8   
    65 & older  21             5   

You will find the percentages of homicide by intimate partners after
the sixth paragraph:

U.S. Department of Justice 
Bureau of Justice Statistics Report
Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim,  1993-99

You will need the Adobe Acrobat reader to read this information

1993-1999 data concerning fatal and nonfatal intimate partner
Hard numbers listed under Highlights

page 3 of 12   Graph of female victims of intimate partner homicide,
page 9 of 12   Rates of violence and homicide against women, 1993-99
page11 of 12  Intimate partner homicide rates of males, 1993-99
page12 of 12  Definition of Intimate Partner

U.S. Department of Justice 
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Crime Characteristics

Intimate violence is mostly a crime against women.  Females were the
victims in 72% of intimate murders occurring in 1998.  Also, Intimate
partners were the offenders identified by the victims of about 1% of
all workplace violent crime

Murder information under heading of Intimate Violence, found midway in

Federal Bureau of Investigation information and Sources

According to the FBI Crime Indexes, between 1993 and 1999, of 12943
murders occurred and they included 164 husbands, 598 wives, 151
boyfriends, and 417 girlfriends.  206 of those murders involved money
or property issues, and 3475 concerned "other" types of arguments.

Supplemental homicide data collected by the FBI, for the year 2000,
states that Husbands or boyfriends murdered 33.0 percent of the female
victims, and wives or girlfriends murdered 3.2 percent of male

The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) was developed by
the FBI to improve the statistical reporting and analysis capabilities
of law enforcement.

This data is a result of a collaborative effort on behalf of the FBI,
national, state, and local criminal justice organizations, and because
of the ability of this collaboration to capture a significant amount
of information, it is possible to place each incident into specific
victim or offender categories.

People are more apt to being victimized by an intimate partner, than
by any other family member.  I have listed the link to the 1999 NIBRS
files that can be searched available through the JRSA IBR Resource
Center, in the next paragraph.

JRSA IBR Resource Center
The 1999 NIBRS file contains 2,311,625 victims from 18 states.  The
frequency for each available relationship type (for all offenders) are
represented.  These numbers include murder and non negligent
manslaughter for common-law-spouse, spouse, and ex-spouse.

Please check for your requested information under the headings:

Frequencies of Reported Relationships for Violent Offenses
Relationship of Victim to Offender for Part 1 Violent Offenses and
Domestic Relationships

Categories of Victim to Offender for Part 1 Violent Offenses 
category- intimate partners (spouses, common-law spouses,
boy/girlfriends, ex-spouses, and homosexual relationships)

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Uniform Crime Reports
Murder and Non negligent Manslaughter by relationship for year 2000

You will need the Adobe Acrobat reader to read this information

Click on Section II - Crime Index Offenses Reported
Under Bookmarks, click on Murder and Non negligent Manslaughter

These statistics deal with the Uniform Crime Reporting Program
Murder and Non negligent Manslaughter by relationship for year 2000

Intimate relationships include murders of husband, wife, boyfriend and
girlfriend.  This information does not specify divorce or separation

Page 5 of 11 Contains supplemental homicide data including percentages
of victims and their relationships with the offender.
Page 7 of 11 focuses on total murders and also breaks down data to
include number of murders concerning romantic, money, and property. 
It also lists murder statistics involving other arguments.
Page 8 of 11 features graph information including percentages of
murdered husbands, wives, boyfriends, and girlfriends.

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 
You will need the Adobe Acrobat reader to read this information
Murder and Non negligent Manslaughter by relationship by intimates of
the victims 1976-99
page 1 of 1

Miscellaneous Information and Sources

National Institute of Justice

Exposure Reduction or Backlash? The Effects of Domestic Violence
Resources on Intimate Partner Homicide,
Final Report, L. Dugan

Violence Against Women Statistics for V-Day

Search under the heading of United States, included on line # 4 to
find this information:
"1 in 3 murdered females are killed by a partner, versus 3.6% of
males." (US Department of Justice, May 2000)

Intimate Homicide Trends in US

U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics  
Homicide trends report from 1976 to 1999, released January 2001
Several interesting facts are contained in this report, such as:

"Though murder of white females by spouses and ex-spouses decreased
45% from 1976 to 1999, murders of white females by boyfriends
increased 20%"

"The rate of all females murdered by boyfriends is 50% higher than
that of females murdered by spouses or ex-spouses."

"From 1990 to 1998, 2/3 of spouse and ex-spouse homicide victims were
killed by guns"

The Daily, Thursday, October 7, 1999

To find this information, scroll down to heading:
Spousal homicides down for the seventh straight year
"In 1998, 57 women were killed by a current spouse or an ex-spouse. A
further 10 women were killed by a boyfriend or an ex-boyfriend. In
all, slightly more than half of all female homicide victims were
killed by someone with whom they had an intimate relationship."

"Of the 13 men killed by a spouse last year, 12 were killed by a
current spouse and one individual was separated. Six in 10 incidents
of spousal homicides involved a history of domestic violence between
the accused and the victim, of which police were aware."

It has been a pleasure to help you with your request, and I feel
confident that I have included enough material to aid you in your
project.  This has been quite an interesting and thought provoking
piece of research.

Thank you 


Search Criteria and Terms:

Most of the information listed was obtained by visiting sites
recommended by Callie Rennison, Ph.D. Statistician, Bureau of Justice
Statistics, and Chris Dunn, Director, National Archive of Criminal
Justice Data, University of Michigan

"homicide statistics"+intimate
Subject: Re: Divorce-Related Murders
From: robertskelton-ga on 27 Aug 2002 04:25 PDT
Germany 1977: "It gives one shivers of horror to think that at least
every fifth murder victim died in connection with a separation or
Subject: Re: Divorce-Related Murders
From: rico-ga on 27 Aug 2002 13:53 PDT
Maybe kyrie or another researcher will have better luck on this than I
did.  While I did find the "Uniform Crime Report" for 2000 from the
F.B.I. had some useful background, their "Murder by Relationship"
section doesn't delineate as finely as whether the couple is seperated
or divorced. However, fellow researchers may want to look at the
Acrobat document...

Not to confuse the issue, but dependent on what you're trying to
achieve, you may need to add a third category, "Romantic Triangles", a
third party murdered because of involvement with a divorced or
separated spouse, which seems to be an all-too-common occurence.

Finally, fellow researchers may find helpful, "‘Til Death Do Us
Part:Effects of Divorce Laws on Suicide and Intimate Homicide", a
Harvard study "...on murder and suicide rates, with murder being used
to evaluate changes in family violence and suicide as a measure of
psychological well-being" from 1968 through 1994, which opens with a
quote from Kurt Cobain...

"I'd rather die than divorce."

Hope this proves helpful in someone providing the ultimate answer.


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