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More than half of all homicides of women in the U.S. are related to intimate partner violence, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). IPV-related deaths included those involving homicides where the victim was an intimate partner—such as a current or former spouse or girlfriend—of the suspect, as well as other deaths associated with IPV, including victims who were family, friends, first responders, or bystanders.

Researchers from CDC analyzed homicide data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) of 10,018 women aged 18 years or older in 18 states during 2003–2014. Among the key findings:

  • Over half of female homicides (55.3%) for which circumstances were known were related to IPV.
  • Young, racial/ethnic minority women are disproportionately affected: About one third of victims (29.4%) were aged 18–29 years, and non-Hispanic black and American Indian/Alaska Native women had the highest rates of homicide.
  • Arguments and jealousy were common factors involved in IPV-related homicides.
  • One in 10 victims of IPV-related homicide reportedly experienced violence in the month before their deaths.
  • Approximately 15% of victims of reproductive age (18–44 years) were pregnant or postpartum.

The researchers discuss strategies that could help prevent IPV-related homicides, including risk assessments by first responders to IPV-related incidents that can help identify women at greater risk to connect them to local services, state legislation to limiting access to firearms for persons under a domestic violence restraining order, and bystander programs, such as Green Dot, that teaches effective intervention skills and violence prevention. They also note that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening women of childbearing age for IPV and referring women who screen positive for intervention services.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 to talk confidentially with anyone in the United States who is experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship. The toll free, 24/7 hotline is available at 1-800-799-7233. Live chat is also available every day from 7 am to 2 am Central time.

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