Threats to take, harm or kill the victim’s children
Abusers often do not limit their violence to the intimate partner. Research has indicated it is not uncommon, in cases which ended in fatal violence, for the abuser to have made threats to take, harm or kill children, as he demonstrated to the victim his willingness to use more severe violence (Zeoli, 2018b). In 45 percent of the Project’s cases, the perpetrator and victim shared at least one minor child. Project data also revealed that, while threats to cause harm to a child is an often-used tactic to manipulate or control the victim, in many circumstances the abuser had been known to escalate to child abuse. In 26 percent of reviewed cases, the perpetrator had been abusive to a child prior to the homicide. National research reveals a similar trend with abusers threatening to harm the children in 19 percent of cases studied (Zeoli, 2018b). One study showed perpetrators made threats to harm the children 19 percent of the time (Zeoli, 2018b), and killed children during the incident in 19 percent of intimate partner homicides studied (Campbell, 2017).
You can read more about the impact of domestic violence on children in the 2015 Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project Annual Report, available for download at GeorgiaFatalityReview.com.