The signs of possible domestic homicide or the risk factors which potentially increase lethality five-fold over non-lethal violence are:

  • Threats to kill
  • Prior attempts to strangle
  • Forced sex
  • Escalating physical violence over time
  • A partner’s control over the victim’s daily activities

If the abuser is using one or more of the said actions, the risk of domestic homicide increases. However, in domestic violence cases the risk of domestic homicide still remains, even if the abuser has not yet used any of the abovementioned actions.

A phenomenon known as the separation assault has been recognized in domestic violence cases, i.e., women who are in the process of separating or have recently separated from their partner are at much higher risk for future abuse. The majority of serious and fatal domestic violence incidents are committed when women attempt to leave the abusive relationship, especially within the first three months of the departure. Separation assault is connected to the power and control nature of domestic violence – when the victim tries to leave or has just left the abusive relationship, the abuser feels that he is losing his established dominance over the victim. Therefore, he uses more severe physical violence to regain the power and control, which may lead to severe injuries or domestic homicide.

Therefore, in order to protect the right to life and health of the victim of domestic violence, there is a need for state guaranteed protection orders against domestic violence, to help victims safely exit the abusive relationship.

Human Rights Guide

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