Juristat Service Bulletin Vol. 14 No. 8 reports that there was a prior history of domestic violence recorded for 54% of the spousal homicides with occured during 1991 and 1992. Previous violence was recorded for 54% of the spousal homicides which occured during 1991 and 1992. Previous vioence was recorded for 68% of the husband-victim cases and 51% of the wife-victim cases.
Alvohol and drug abuse is a recurring theme in domestic homicide. Juristat Service Bulletin Vol. 12 No. 18 reported that in 1991, 64% of those persons accused of homicide in a domestic situation for which previous domestic violence was recorded, had been under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the offense.
Juristat Service Bulletin Vol. 14 No. 8 and Sheila Noonan report that there was strong evidence that teh male spouse had been the initial aggressor in 50%-75% of spousal homicides committed by women in Canada. This suggests that the killing which resulted may actually have been a legitimate act of self defence by the female partner. Kopel reports that a study done of spousal homicides in Detroit revealed that 75% of wives who shot and killed their husbands were not presecuted because the wives were determined to have been defending themselves, and their children, against criminal assault. The Juristat indicates that the spousal homicide of husbands exceeds that of wives in some major American cities.
Wives are at risk of spousal homicide within thte first two months of seperation. For both men and women, the risk of spousal homicide is far greater in common-law unions than in legal marriages.
The Abt Associates study reported that 96% of police officers surveyed reported that they were aware of a history of domestic violence through routine interviewing of victims/complainants, and that 74% were typically in possession of information pertaining to whether there were firearms in the residence and routinely question homeowners as to the presence of firearms when responding to a complaint on domestic violence.