The role of depression in intimate partner homicide

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Previous research has shown that persons with depression are over-represented among perpetrators of intimate partner homicide (IPH). However, the relationship between IPH and depression is not well understood.

This study explores the role of offender depression within a sample of 199 cases of male-perpetrated IPH in Australia, as described by judges in sentencing remarks.

Over one-third of the IPH offenders had experienced depression at some point in their lifetime. Qualitative information about the onset and cause of depression, co-occurring risk factors and the relationship between depression and culpability is presented. Findings show that depression alone holds limited explanatory value for understanding IPH, and must be considered in the context of other co-occurring risk factors.

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