Homicide‐Suicides Between Adult Sexual Intimates: An Australian Study

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Little research that focuses upon homicide‐suicides between adult sexual intimates has been conducted to date. Yet U.S., U.K., and Australian studies on homicide and homicide‐suicide show that a disproportionate number of those that kill and subsequently take their own lives are the husbands or estranged sexual intimates of their victims. This paper provides some retrospective data on the historical, demographic, and situational traits of this type of homicide‐suicide in Australia by looking at what, if anything, differentiates homicides between adult sexual intimates that include the suicide of the offender from those that do not. A lack of significant variation was apparent in histories of domestic violence, alcohol involvement, and unemployment between those who committed suicide and those who did not. However, if the offender was a male estranged from his partner, born outside of Australia, who used a gun as the weapon and killed more than one victim, or was older with an ailing wife, he was more apt to commit suicide. Using anecdotal case study material, causation or explanatory variables are also discussed. These appeared to cluster either around a theme of old age and ill‐health or control and pathological‐type of possessiveness. The author concludes that more research focusing on the differentiation between the two groups of offenders is necessary in order to better identify contributory variables and to develop risk elements and information for criminal justice practitioners and other service providers. 1994 The American Association for Suicidology

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-151
Number of pages12
JournalSuicide and Life‐Threatening Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


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