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Violence against women and their children affects everybody. It impacts on the health, wellbeing and safety of a significant proportion of Australians throughout all states and territories and places an enormous burden on the nation’s economy across family and community services, health and hospitals, income-support and criminal justice systems.


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The “Pathways to intimate partner homicide” project: Key stages and events in male-perpetrated intimate partner homicide in Australia

Intimate partner homicides (IPHs) accounted for 21 per cent of all homicides in Australia in 2018–19, and 62 per cent of all domestic homicides. Since 1989–90 there have been an average of 68 IPHs per year in Australia, and the majority of these were perpetrated by a male offender against a female intimate partner.

There is currently a limited understanding of IPH in Australia. In response to this gap, a research team, led by Dr Hayley Boxall at the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), examined the life course trajectories of IPH offenders, aiming to identify potential opportunities for intervention along the pathway to IPH.

The research team analysed a sample of 199 incidents of male-perpetrated IPH of a female partner. The incidents took place in Australia between 1 July 2007 and 30 June 2018. Three main data sources made up the sample: judges’ sentencing remarks, coronial findings, and information sourced from the AIC’s National Homicide Monitoring Program.

Case analysis determined that there are three primary offender pathways to IPH: the “fixated threat” pathway, the “persistent and disorderly” pathway, and the “deterioration/acute stressor” pathway. The characteristics of these trajectories to IPH are examined in detail in the report, as are key themes that recur across all three pathways.

The report demonstrates that there is no one picture of what an IPV homicide offender looks like, nor is there a single pathway to IPH. Instead, a complex and diverse series of pathways can lead to a lethal incident, and the report offers information about the multiple points of intervention available to disrupt pathways to homicide and better enable prevention of men’s lethal violence against women.



Publication details

This work is part of the ANROWS Research reports series. ANROWS Research reports are in-depth reports on empirical research produced under ANROWS’s research program.



Research Manager, Australian Institute of Criminology

Research Analyst, Australian Institute of Criminology

Senior Research Analyst, Australian Institute of Criminology

Former Research Analyst, Australian Institute of Criminology

Research Manager,  Australian Institute of Criminology



ISBN: 978-1-922645-21-0 (print) | 978-1-922645-23-4 (online)

145 pp.


Suggested citation

Boxall, H., Doherty, L., Lawler, S., Franks, C., & Bricknell, S. (2022). The “Pathways to intimate partner homicide” project: Key stages and events in male-perpetrated intimate partner homicide in Australia (Research report, 04/2022). ANROWS.

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