Intimate partner homicide in Norway 1990–2012 : identifying risk factors through structured risk assessment, court documents, and interviews with bereaved
To explore possible risk factors for intimate partner homicide by combining structured risk
assessment based on information available in court documents and individual risk assessment provided
through interviews with the bereaved. Method: The aim of this study was to scrutinize intimate partner
homicide (IPH) situations and interactions within a retrospective, mixed methods design. All IPHs in
Norway that had received a final legal judgment from 1990 to 2012 (N = 177) were included.
Quantitative data was extracted through structured investigation of the court documents. Risk factors
were identified from three validated risk assessment instruments. Qualitative data were retrieved from
interviews with a sample of bereaved (n = 12). Results: The IPH distribution was biased toward low
socioeconomic status. Previous intimate partner violence (IPV) was identified in 7 out of 10 IPH
incidents. Observed risk by the bereaved was infrequently communicated to health care, police, or
support services. Individuals who did communicate risk found that professionals underestimated the
reported risk and did not act on their warnings. Conclusions: The majority of IPHs did not occur without
warning signs. To prevent IPH, structured risk assessments and knowledge of family and friends’
perceptions of risk is essential.
Keywords: intimate partner homicide, risk assessment, intimate partner violence, domestic violence