Citation(s) from the literature library

Hemenway, David. 2011 ‘Homicides - Women Shot at Home.’ Risks and Benefits of a Gun in the Home - American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, pp. 4-5. Boston: Sage Publications / Harvard Injury Control Research Center. 2 February

Relevant contents

Homicides - Women Shot at Home

Whereas most men are murdered away from home, most children, older adults, and women are murdered at home. A gun in the home is a particularly strong risk factor for female homicide victimization. Women in the United States are at far greater risk of homicide victimization than women in other developed countries, and the greatest danger for women in homicides that occur in the home comes from their intimate partners - especially partners with guns.

A subgroup analysis of female homicide victimization from a large case-control study of homicide in the home in 3 metropolitan counties found that having a gun in the home was a large and significant risk factor for homicide. Most of the women were murdered by a spouse, a lover, or a close relative, and the increased risk for homicide from having a gun in the home was attributable to these homicides.

Another case-control study of women murdered by intimate partners, compared with a control group of battered women, found that a gun in the home was an important risk factor for femicide. There was easy access to a firearm (eg, a gun in the house) for 65% of case perpetrators versus 24% of perpetrators of nonfatal abuse. Access to a firearm by the battered woman had no protective effect.

Overall, domestic disputes are likely to be affected by the presence of a firearm. Although many spousal homicides occur following a long history of violence in the home, spousal abusers are often impulsive and volatile. The availability of a firearm increases the likelihood that an attack will prove fatal.

A review of intimate partner homicides in Chicago over a 29-year period concluded that "an effective prevention strategy for intimate homicide of women… would be to reduce the availability of firearms in the home."

ID: Q10698

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