Pathways to intimate partner homicide  ANROWS  February 2022

Intimate partner homicide is the most common form of homicide in Australia.


However, an understanding of intimate partner homicide incidents in Australia, particularly the nature and course of the relationship between the victim and the offender, is currently limited.

This gap in the research is notable considering the importance of such information for identifying potential intervention points, as well as events and behaviours that could foreshadow fatal outcomes within relationships.

Research aim/s

The purpose of the study is to describe the nature and course of intimate partner relationships that culminate in the male-perpetrated homicide of a female partner. It aims to examine the combination and sequencing of characteristics, behaviours and events that could foreshadow fatal outcomes.


The study is examining incidents of male-perpetrated murder of a female intimate partner homicide that occurred between 1 July 2006 and 30 June 2018. The study involves the analysis of data extracted from two primary sources:

  • the Australian Institute of Criminology’s (AIC) National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP), which combines offence record data from Australian state and territory police and coronial data from the National Coronial Information System, supplemented with additional information from coronial and court documents
  • sentencing remarks.

Information is being extracted using a coding framework informed by the relevant literature and in consultation with an advisory body comprised of members of the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network, academia, Commonwealth Government agencies and the support service sector. The information extracted will be analysed using crime scripts analysis (CSA) and behavioural sequence analysis (BSA) frameworks. CSA will be used to identify the sequential stages of crime commission and map interactions between offenders, victims and their immediate environment, and BSA will be used to map and identify transitions between offender and victim behaviours and events at the micro and macro levels.


The collection of information about the trajectories associated with intimate partner homicide will be crucial for identifying “red flags” for serious harm within intimate relationships. This information is vital not only for government agencies and the support service sector who respond to women experiencing IPV, but also for public awareness-raising and for other sectors who may have contact with women for reasons others than IPV.


Hayley Boxall, Australian Institute of Criminology


Laura Doherty, Australian Institute of CriminologySiobhan Lawler, Australian Institute of Criminology

Christie Franks, Australian Institute of Criminology

Dr Samantha Bricknell, Australian Institute of Criminology