At least 7 risk factors ID’d in 80% of domestic homicide cases: Western University researchers

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National research co-led by experts at Western University has found that in 80 per cent of domestic homicides, at least seven risk factors could be identified by those known to them before the deaths.

Researchers say knowing more about these risks can literally save lives.

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“Domestic homicides appear to be the most predictable and preventable of all homicides because there are usually multiple risk factors known to friends, family, co-workers and professionals involved with the victim and perpetrator before the homicide,” said Peter Jaffe of Western University’s Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women.

“We owe it to the victims and surviving family members to do a better job in risk assessment and early intervention to prevent these tragedies.”

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The risk factors include prior domestic abuse, stalking, separation and a perpetrator’s substance abuse and will be discussed at the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Conference at the London Convention Centre on Wednesday and Thursday. More than 450 researchers, policy-makers, and other professionals representing more than 60 organizations will take part.

Among the goals of the conference is to identify any risk factors that are specific to vulnerable populations who may experience higher rates of victimization in Canada, including Indigenous women, immigrants, refugee women and children, and women living in rural and remote areas.

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According to Statistics Canada, 20 per cent of all homicides in Canada in 2012 stemmed from domestic violence.

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