Previous suicide threats or attempts
The strong connection between suicide and domestic violence homicide risk is made apparent when evaluating the indicators which overlap both issues. Abusers who are at increased risk of perpetrating a domestic violence-related homicide or murder-suicide often have: symptoms of depression; a history of prior suicide threats or attempts; a history of substance abuse; experiences of a recent medical crisis, financial issues, loss of a loved one, or relationship changes; access to a firearm; and/or looming accountability for their behavior, such as an impending arrest or a court case.
In a national study on the risk of intimate partner homicide, female victims who were killed experienced abuse by a male partner who had threatened or attempted suicide 39 percent of the time (Campbell, 2017). Georgia research yields identical data: 39 percent of the Project’s reviewed cases are classified as attempted or completed murder-suicides. Further demonstrating the risk a suicide crisis poses to victims of intimate partner violence, perpetrators in Project-reviewed cases were known to have known to have threatened or attempted suicide prior to the fatal incident in 37 percent of cases.
The homicide-suicide connection was the focus of the 2016 Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project Annual Report. This report includes information and recommendations for how to address the intersection of suicide and domestic violence to reduce the likelihood of a murder-suicide incident. The 2016 Annual Report can be downloaded from GeorgiaFatalityReview.com/reports/report/2016-report.