Abuse during pregnancy
In a national study on risk of intimate partner homicide, victims of completed or attempted femicide experienced beatings by their partner during pregnancy in 36 percent of cases (Campbell, 2017). The same study found 3 percent of femicide cases involved a victim who was killed while pregnant.
Research on women who died during their pregnancy or first year postpartum found the leading cause of death was homicide and the current or former intimate partner was the perpetrator in 55 percent of those deaths (Campbell, 2017).
Because it is not uncommon for victims at high risk for lethal violence to be abused during their pregnancy, additional screening for abuse and referrals for supportive services for pregnant women are encouraged. Pregnant women are regularly in contact with medical personnel. In fact, studies show 40–47 percent of homicide victims were in contact with health care professionals in the year prior to their deaths (Campbell, 2017). Routine appointments, such as Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) screenings, provide a good point of entry for domestic violence assessments. Six percent of victims in cases reviewed by the Project were receiving WIC just before or at the time of the homicide.