Study Finds Black Women Murdered by Men Are Nearly Always Killed by Someone They Know

For Release: Monday, September 8, 2014

Additional Contact: Sue Hornik
States United to Prevent Gun Violence
631-275-8986

Study released to mark 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, and in advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October

Washington, DC — Black women murdered by men are nearly always killed by someone they know and the most common weapon used is a gun, according to the new Violence Policy Center (VPC) report When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2012 Homicide Data.

The annual report is being released during the week marking the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was signed into law on September 13, 1994. The study also comes in advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

This year’s report applies to 2012, the most recent year for which data is available. The study covers homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender, and uses data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Supplementary Homicide Report.

The report finds that black women face a disproportionate share of fatal domestic violence in America. In 2012, 468 black females were murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents, at a rate of 2.46 per 100,000. For white females murdered by males, the rate was 1.00 per 100,000.

Here are some of the report’s findings related to black females murdered by males:

  • Where the relationship could be determined, 92 percent of black females killed by males in single victim/single offender incidents knew their killers. Eleven times as many black females were murdered by a male they knew than were killed by male strangers. Of the black victims who knew their offenders, 56 percent were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders.
  • Firearms, especially handguns, were the most common weapons used by males to murder black females. When the murder weapon could be identified, 57 percent of black female victims were shot and killed with guns. Within that group, 76 percent were killed with a handgun.
  • In homicides where the age of victims was reported, 10 percent of black females were less than 18 years old and four percent were 65 years of age or older.
  • The vast majority of homicides of black females murdered by males were not related to any other felony crime. Most often, black females were killed by males in the course of an argument. In cases where the circumstances could be identified, 86 percent were not related to the commission of any other felony.

“The vast majority of black women murdered by men are killed not by an unknown assailant, but by someone they know — most often an intimate partner,” states VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand. “Our report shows that black women suffer a disproportionate share of fatal domestic violence. Twenty years after the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, a great deal of work remains to be done.”

“Despite progress in several states that have recently passed bipartisan bills to help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, the shocking number of black women murdered by intimate partners in 2012 shows how far we have to go,” says Sue Hornik, executive director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence. “The 20th anniversary of VAWA is a fitting time to call for action in the states and on Capitol Hill.”

Nationwide, across all races, 1,706 females were murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2012, at a rate of 1.16 per 100,000.

The study also ranks each state based on the homicide rate for women murdered by men. Below are the 10 states with the highest rate of females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2012:

wmmw2014topten

The study calculates the rate of women murdered by men by dividing the total number of females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents by the total female population and multiplying the result by 100,000. The rate of black women murdered by men is calculated by dividing the total number of black females murdered by males by the total black female population and multiplying the result by 100,000. This is the standard and accepted method of comparing fatal levels of gun violence.

To view the full report, please visit vpc.org/studies/wmmw2014.pdf.

 

 

About the Violence Policy Center

The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

States United to Prevent Gun Violence (www.CeasefireUSA.org) is a national non-profit organization working to support state-based gun violence prevention groups and help build new state-led organizations. States United believes that all Americans deserve to live in a country free from the fear, threat, and devastation caused by gun violence.

Media Contact:
Felicia Feingersch
(202) 822-8200 x104
ffeingersch@vpc.org